WHAT IS INCLUSIVE DESIGN
Inclusive design is an approach to designing products, services, and environments that are accessible and usable by as many people as possible, including those with disabilities, older adults, and people with different cultural backgrounds. It is a design philosophy that aims to create an inclusive and diverse world where everyone has equal access and opportunity.
Inclusive design goes beyond compliance with accessibility standards and regulations. Instead, it involves understanding the diverse needs and abilities of users and designing solutions that meet their needs. Inclusive design is a continuous process that involves research, testing, and feedback from users to ensure that the design meets their needs and expectations.
7 PRINCIPLES OF INCLUSIVE DESIGN
Inclusive design is a design philosophy that recognizes the diversity of human abilities, characteristics, and circumstances. It is about creating products, services, and environments that are accessible and usable by as many people as possible, regardless of their age, gender, ethnicity, language, education, income, or disability. Inclusive design goes beyond compliance with legal requirements and technical standards and aims to create solutions that work for everyone.
The seven principles of inclusive design provide a framework for designers to apply this philosophy in practice. The first principle, respectful, is about acknowledging and valuing the diversity of users and their needs. This means avoiding stereotypes and assumptions about what users can or cannot do and consulting with diverse user groups to understand their perspectives and requirements.
The second principle, equitable, is about ensuring that all users have equal access and opportunities to use the product, service, or environment. This means avoiding discrimination or exclusion of any user group and providing appropriate accommodations and support for users with different needs.
The third principle, flexible, is about accommodating different ways of using the product, service, or environment. This means providing options and alternatives for users with different abilities, preferences, and circumstances and avoiding a one-size-fits-all approach.
The fourth principle, simple and intuitive, is about making the product, service, or environment easy to understand and use for all users. This means using clear and consistent navigation, labeling, and instructions and avoiding jargon, complex language, or abstract concepts.
The fifth principle, perceptible, is about ensuring that information is conveyed clearly and effectively to all users. This means providing multiple modes of presentation, such as text, images, video, and audio, and accommodating different sensory abilities, such as vision, hearing, or touch.
The sixth principle, tolerant of error, is about minimizing the consequences of mistakes and allowing users to recover from errors easily. This means providing clear and helpful error messages, avoiding punitive measures, and allowing users to undo and redo actions.
The seventh principle, low physical effort, is about minimising the physical effort required to use the product, service, or environment. This means designing with ergonomic considerations, such as comfortable seating, adjustable heights, and easy-to-reach controls, and supporting the use of assistive technologies, such as voice recognition, screen readers, or magnifiers.
These principles can be applied to various design contexts, such as digital products, physical spaces, or transportation systems. Inclusive design can benefit not only users with disabilities but also users with temporary or situational limitations, such as a broken arm, a noisy environment, or a limited internet connection. Inclusive design can also benefit businesses and organisations by expanding their customer base, improving user satisfaction and loyalty, and demonstrating social responsibility.
Inclusive design requires a collaborative and iterative design process that involves user research, prototyping, testing, and feedback. It also requires a commitment to continuous learning and improvement and a willingness to challenge assumptions and biases. Inclusive design is not a one-time task but rather an ongoing practice that requires continuous attention and effort.