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Three Principles of Inclusive Design

Inclusive Design is human-centred design that considers the full range of human diversity –ability, language, culture, gender, age and other forms of human difference – as part of the design process.

Doing these triggers innovation leaps, opens new markets and creates engagement with customers and citizens.

The Three Dimensions of Inclusive Design

Our partners at the Inclusive Design Research Centre in Toronto stress three dimensions of inclusive design:

1: Recognise diversity and uniqueness

Inclusive design keeps the diversity and uniqueness of each individual in mind. As individuals spread out from the hypothetical average, the needs of individuals that are outliers, or at the margins, become ever more diverse. Most individuals stray from the average in some facet of their needs or goals. This means that a mass solution does not work well. Optimal inclusive design is best achieved through one-size-fit-one configurations.

2: Inclusive process and tools ‘nothing about us without us’

The process of design and the tools used in design are inclusive. Groups that include diverse perspectives, especially perspectives from the margins, trumps a group of the ‘best and brightest,’ in decision-making, accurate prediction and in innovation. Inclusive design teams should be as diverse as possible and include individuals who have a lived experience of the ‘extreme users’ the designs are intended for.

3: Broader beneficial impact

Inclusive designers are aware of the context and broader impact of any design, and strive to effect a beneficial impact beyond the direct beneficiary of the design. Inclusive design should trigger a virtuous cycle of inclusion, leverage the ‘curb-cut effect’, and recognise the interconnectedness of users and systems.The three dimensions of inclusive design - with their branching benefits.The three branches of Inclusive Design - with their extended meanings and systems.