Inclusive design is a crucial consideration when creating products today. The goal is to embrace user diversity and build products that feel welcoming to as many different people as possible.
What Is Inclusive Design?
Inclusive design revolves around the concept of human-centered design. It aims to break down barriers faced by people of different cultures, languages, and physical or cognitive abilities. The focus is on designing products that feel intuitive and accessible to a wide variety of users.
Inclusive design is often confused with universal design. But there are some key differences. Universal design has the broad aim of accommodating all users. But inclusive design goes further by actively including excluded communities in the design process.
How to Achieve Inclusive Design
Here are some tips for practicing inclusive design:
Describe potential users in detail to make informed design decisions. Consider as wide a spectrum of users as possible.
Brainstorm different ways a product could be used. Opening up possibilities covers more users.
Design for one excluded user group, then extend the design to be inclusive of more people.
Test products with a diverse group of users for feedback.
Examples of Inclusive Designs
Some products that showcase inclusive design:
OXO Good Grips kitchen tools with comfortable, ergonomic handles suitable for all.
Vegetable peelers with padded handles designed for those with arthritis.
Electric toothbrushes originally for those with limited mobility, now widely used.
Voice assistants and voice typing designed for the hearing impaired, now mainstream.
Facebook's auto-play videos with sound off by default help users in loud or crowded environments.
The aim of inclusive design is to create products that feel welcoming and intuitive to the broadest group possible. Incorporating feedback from diverse users allows for more accessibility. When designed thoughtfully, products that start inclusive can become truly universal.