Inclusive Design for a diverse world

min read
August 4, 2023

Inclusive design is a methodology focused on creating products and services accessible to all, irrespective of their abilities. It goes beyond meeting regulations, emphasising the consideration of diverse human needs during the design process. This approach benefits not only individuals with disabilities but also older adults, non-native speakers, and others who may encounter barriers when using products or services.

Background and context

In the past, design has often ignored certain groups, such as people with disabilities and diverse backgrounds, leading to exclusionary and harmful products and services. Inclusive design seeks to rectify this by prioritising accessibility, diversity, and user needs. It not only benefits users but also society and the economy through increased innovation, improved accessibility, and expanded markets. Some successful examples of organisations implementing inclusive design are Microsoft, Airbnb, and Procter & Gamble.

The Principles of Inclusive Design

They are based on three key ideas: accessibility, diversity and inclusion, and user-centeredness. Accessibility means designing products and services for people with different abilities. Diversity and inclusion involve considering the needs and experiences of people from various backgrounds. User-centeredness means involving users in the design process and prioritising their needs. To apply these principles, best practices include involving diverse users, considering different abilities, and creating accessible interfaces.

The Impact of Inaccessible Services on Companies

Inaccessible services can cause a range of problems for companies, from lost revenue to reputation damage. Research has shown that people with disabilities and their families represent a $1 trillion market segment, yet many companies still fail to consider their needs when designing their products and services. Inaccessible services not only exclude people with disabilities but also older adults, non-native speakers, and anyone who might face barriers to using products or services.

Negative experiences can spread quickly through social media, leading to customer loss and a tarnished reputation. Prioritising inclusive design helps companies avoid these issues and build a positive image as an inclusive and socially responsible brand.

Inclusive Design Challenges and Opportunities

Inclusive design faces challenges and opportunities. One challenge is ensuring diverse user needs are considered, especially for those with disabilities or marginalised backgrounds. Balancing the needs of different user groups is another difficulty, trying to make products accessible without compromising design or functionality.

Nevertheless, inclusive design offers opportunities to enhance the lives of people with disabilities and underrepresented groups. It promotes social inclusion and equal access to products and services, while also driving innovation by encouraging creative solutions for diverse user needs.

Cover image: @Upklyak

Ready for the next step in digital experience?