What is Inclusive Design?
Inclusive Design means to partner up with people and help promote their desired participation in society. This partnering takes into account people’s specific abilities and the way society accommodates them. The effect of design should be to enhance participation and quality of life, and to mainstream successful approaches and results. To design inclusively, a designer needs to be able to collaborate with people, understand their everyday activities and usage of things and their desires, and to respond creatively and collaboratively.
About the Inclusive Design Lab
The Inclusive Design Lab has been formed throughout 2020 to address Inclusive Design as both a societal issue and a business case (Myerson, 2016). Inclusive Design has been defined as “[The] design of mainstream products … that are accessible to, and usable by, as many people as reasonably possible on a global basis, in a wide variety of situations and to the greatest extent possible without the need for special adaptation or specialized design.” (British Standard 7000 Part 6, cited in Keates, 2004).
Societal and/or economic relevance
Disability in relation to mainstream products’ demands on users is one source of exclusion. The United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) reflects the change from a former medical model to a social model where disability is seen as resulting ‘from the interaction between persons with impairments and attitudinal and environmental barriers that hinders their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others’ (Berghs et al 2016, p. 1). The need that a disability brings to the table is also a unique opportunity to see new (technological) opportunities. Users with disabilities are often early adopters, for instance of AI applications. At the same time, AI applications can pose threats for inclusion and participation in society (Peeters & Widlak, 2018). Inclusive design can question these developments and propose avenues to towards participation.