Listen High Contrast Standard English / Norsk Design og arkitektur Norge Design and Architecture Norway

Inclusive Design - a people centered strategy for innovation

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

Inclusive Design Glossary

The glossary is a list of technical terms often used in association with Inclusive Design.

Access for All: see Universal Access.

Accessibility: Physical or sensory ability to access buildings, use products and obtain information or services.

Accessible transport: Transport that allows people with disabilities to travel without any obstacles. 

Adaptable Design: Design that can be easily adapted to create a barrier-free space, product or environment.

Anthropometry: Study of the measurement of the human body and its physical variations. Anthropometry is an important factor in various disciplines.

Assistive Design: A device that assists a person with disabilities in accomplishing daily tasks. These can include a wheelchair, bath hoist or extendable cutlery to aid with eating.

Assistive technology: Devices that aim to assist or rehabilitate people with severe impairments. Generally not classed as Inclusive Design as the devices might have little application for mainstream markets.

Autism: A spectrum of conditions that includes Aspergers. Autistic individuals have a behavioural condition social
communication, interaction and imagination. This can represent in a variety of ways including repetitive behaviour, hypersensitivity to environmental stimuli or adherence to routine.

Barrier-free Design: Modifying buildings or environments so that they can be used by people with disabilities. Automatic doors and ramps are examples of this.

Biomechanics: Study of how mechanical principles apply to living organisms which includes bioengineering and application of engineering principles to and from biological systems. This is an important part of ergonomics and can be valuable in understanding the diversity of human ergonomics.

Co-design: A process whereby end users actively participate in design activities alongside the designer, bringing their ideas into shaping the product, service or environment.

Dementia: Loss of memory primarily due to age that makes it difficult to remember a daily routine. The effect is a serious loss of cognitive ability. More recent memories typically go first.

Design exclusion: Term developed by the design research project as a way of understanding who might be excluded by a particular design.

Design for All: Is closely related to Inclusive Design. It is about ensuring that environments, products, services and interfaces work for people of all ages and abilities in different situations and under various circumstances. The term is used in continental Europe and Scandinavia. 

Design for Disability: Term used for design considerations focusing on specifically on aids and adaptors for the disabled people.

Design for our Future Selves: Concept developed by DesignAge Programme to encourage young designers to see older people as their own ‘future selves’.

Dexterity: Ability to perform manual tasks with skill and ease.

Dignity: Treating people with respect and promoting personal independence.

Disability: Disability can be seen as a result of mismatch between individuals and their social and physical environment. It is important to not define people by their condition. We are all on a spectrum of ability.

Dyslexia: Difficulty in comprehending, writing and reading words and text thought to be due to the result of a neurological defect or difference. It is not regarded as an intellectual disability.

Emphathic research: A form of research based on observation and interview to address the tacit needs and wants of users. Watching without interfering is central to this, adding value to traditional focus group and surveys.

Ergonomic: A product that is designed according to the principles of ergonomics (see below).

Ergonomics: Scientific study that addresses the relation of human being to their environment and the application of anatomical, physiological, psychological,and engineering knowledge. It intends to maximize efficiency and productivity by reducing operator fatigue and discomfort. See also Human Factors.

Ethnography: A branch of social science that primarily conducts research with people. Interviews and observation are traditional tools of ethnography that designers now use in conducting user research.

HTML: HyperText Markup Language used for placing text and graphics on a website.

Human-centred Design: HCD or User Centred Design (UCD) is a term that can apply to any design tailored to users that meet their needs and is intuitive to use. Sometimes used interchangeably with Inclusive Design.

Human Factors: Multidisciplinary scientific study sometimes known as ergonomics devoted to optimising human performance and reducing human error. Human Factors involves the study and development of tools that facilitate the achievement of these goals. See also Ergonomics.

Inclusive Design: Defined in 2000 by the UK Government as "products, services and environments that include the needs of the widest number of consumers". Inclusive Design is used within Europe and goes beyond older and disabled people to focus on other excluded groups to deliver mainstream solutions. 

Investigator: Person conducting research with users.

Method cards: A collection of cards created by design consultancy IDEO representing diverse ways that design teams can understand the people they are designing for. They make a number of different methods accessible and are divided into four categories – Learn, Look, Ask and Try.

Mobility: Ability to moving freely across the city using public or private transport regardless of age or ability. Can also impact an individual’s participation in the economic, political and social life of the community.

Number-centred methods: Methods for researching or gathering data that are primarily based on statistics, large samples and percentages.

People-centred Design: A design process in which research with people is central. People are not treated like test subjects but as an integral and equal part of the research process. The term is based on Inclusive Design and sometimes used interchangeably.

Seven principles of Universal Design: Developed by US architect Ron Mace and the Center for Universal Design, North Carolina State University, these principles have formed a benchmark in Universal Design thinking. In summary, they look at safety, comfort, convenience, ease of use, ergonomic fit, suitability, and user value.

Social inclusion: A term that refers to the action being taken against social problems such as unemployment, poor education, ill health, low income, crime, poor housing or poor environment. Inclusive Design has been seen as a tool to promote social inclusion and equality by many governments.

Tactile signs: Signs that have raised letters or markings to be read and interpreted by tracing with fingers over the surfaces. Braille is an example of a tactile language using dots that is primarily aimed at visually impaired people.

Trans-generational Design: Design of residential environments and consumer products that are attractive and accommodating to people across the age spectrum. In general, trans-generational designs accommodate rather than discriminate and sympathise rather than stigmatise older people.

Universal access: The ability to have equal opportunity and access to a service or product regardless of social class, ethnicity, background or ability. Also described as Access for All. 

Universal Design: This term originated in the USA and is now adopted by Japan and the Pacific Rim. It started with a strong focus on disability and the built environment. It has been a driving force in establishing American legislation regarding older and disabled people. 

User-centred Design: A term that is sometimes used interchangeably with people-centred design. It describes design processes in which end users influence the design outcome by being involved in all stages of development. It is very often regarded as ‘user testing’ and is usually brought in at the end of the product development cycle. The term has become synonymous with interface design, usability and more recently in web development with experience design.

User experience: The perceptions and responses of the person that result from the use or anticipated use of a product, system or service. This includes all their emotions, beliefs, preferences, perceptions, physical and psychological responses, behaviours and accomplishments that occur before, during and after use.

User-focused Design: Design with the user in mind. Similar to user-centred design and mostly used within interactive design and web design.

User research: Conducting research people to understand their experiences, in particular their needs and aspirations. A central part of Inclusive Design and people-centred design.

User scenario: A communication tool and narrative describing foreseeable interactions between users (characters) and a particular design. It provides a design rationale, assesses usability factors and gives an overall evaluation. Storyboards are an example of a visual user scenario and a good way of bringing an idea to life.