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Design og arkitektur Norge Design and Architecture Norway

Inclusive Design - a people centred strategy for innovation

A practical introduction to Inclusive Design for Businesses & Designers - how to get started!

Here are some myths around Inclusive Design:

Myth 1: Inclusive Design is only about public services

Public services are just one obvious application, but Inclusive Design equally applies to any commercial design that is used by a large number of people.

Examples include mobile phones, websites, packaging, retail environments, transport.

Myth 2: Inclusive Design is just another buzzword

Inclusive Design has a history and a future.

It is now being written into legislation and companies that ignore this could be liable. Far from being a trend, Inclusive Design is a design movement and will be increasingly important in the future.

Myth 3: Inclusive Design is for niche markets such as older people

Inclusive Design can be used to open up new market segments.

Talking to real people can uncover consumer needs that have not been articulated before, putting you ahead of competitors. What might be considered the niche market today could be the market of tomorrow.

Myth 4: Inclusive Design is not concerned with aesthetics

Aesthetics play a major role in the acceptance of a design and should always be considered.

Attractive design and Inclusive Design are not mutually exclusive.

Myth 5: Inclusive Design is not for me

Everyone can benefit from Inclusive Design including you.

For example, most of us have some form of disability whether dyslexia, short sightedness, allergies or a broken leg. Inclusive Design can make packaging easier to open, signs easier to read, and services easier to use.

Myth 6: Inclusive Design is only about assistive technology

Inclusive Design is not about ‘special needs’ design or specialised equipment.

It is design for the widest possible range of users. A stair lift only helps those in wheelchairs, whereas an elevator is accessible to everyone.

Myth 7: Inclusive Design is only about accessibility and disability

People can face exclusion in many other ways including social, economic, cognitive, physical, by age or gender.

Inclusive Design goes beyond accessibility and disability to address a wider range of issues. It can be applied to improve mainstream products and services.

Myth 8: Inclusive Design is only about physical objects

Inclusive Design can be applied to any market sector including services, environments, interfaces, packaging and graphics.

Websites, electronic menus, software and signage are examples of non-physical applications of Inclusive Design.

Myth 9: Inclusive Design is boring

Inclusive Design actually leads to innovation.

Companies such as Toyota, Jordan, Panasonic and Apple have all been recognised with Inclusive Design awards for exciting, mainstream designs.

Myth 10: Inclusive Design is expensive

When built into the design process Inclusive Design can actually improve profit, add value, and increase market appeal.

Conducting research with people does not cost much. What can be expensive are recalls, retrofitting and an unpopular design that does not sell.

  • Why

    WhyTwo elderly people playing Nintendo Wii.

    The role of design is changing. Design is not just about aesthetic, functional or emotional needs. It can also play a key role in promoting sustainability and creating social inclusion. Companies that can use design to meet these challenges can increase profitability and leave the competition behind.

  • Customer needs

    WhyTwo boys doing BMX tricks, one in a wheel chair and one on a bike.

    Most products and services are generally designed for the average user - a typically healthy, right-handed, white, young male. In fact the ‘average’ user represents a minority and is not representative of the wider population. People will be excluded from this group in one or more ways.

  • Implementation

    HowFour Tripp Trapp chairs in a row with children of different ages, from baby to teenager.

    Inclusive Design can add value to your existing design or development process. Throughout the process there are a number of Inclusive Design activities and methods that can be added to create a more people-centred approach. You can adapt them to suit your purposes for specific projects.


Design for all

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Buy the books!

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These books gives the readers an introduction as to how Inclusive Design and Architecture can be used as a strategy for better business.

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