AdNews: Adobe and Microsoft back inclusive design research

AdNews: Adobe and Microsoft back inclusive design research

This article was originally published in AdNews

Adobe and Microsoft have partnered with the Centre for Inclusive Design to commission The Benefit of Designing for Everyone report conducted by PwC.

The research found products and services designed with the needs of people experiencing poverty, disability or the effects of ageing in mind can reach four times the number of intended consumers and impact the bottom-line of organisations.

"Inspiration can come from anywhere and anyone, and it’s up to Australian businesses to give employees accessible tools that can enhance the creation process to bring their ideas to life," Adobe Australia managing director Suzanne Steele says.

"Through our partnership with the Centre for Inclusive Design and Microsoft, we want to raise awareness of the importance for organisations to include a diverse range of voices and perspectives within their teams in order to reflect the diversity of the Australian population in their products and services."

According to the report, people who experience difficulty accessing or using products and services are often not included in the design process.

This can result in disregarding a significant percentage of the Australian population as well as costly retrofits for products and services, which can reach up to 10,000 times the cost of introducing inclusive design earlier on.

Findings from the report showed that the Australian education, retail and financial services sectors can benefit from implementing an inclusive approach in the design process.

Five million Australians across the country are unable to access products and services because of poor design, yet they possess over $40 billion in annual disposable income.

This number includes people living with a disability and seniors, however there are millions of Australians who are also vulnerable to exclusion due to location, gender, ethnicity or financial status.

Within education, inclusive design can translate into an additional 228,000 tertiary qualifications earned in Australia which in turn can increase employment and salaries by $4.5 billion annually.

Inclusively designed financial services can help more than 830,000 Australians experience improved financial capacity and capability, while in the retail sector there is a $4 billion potential increase to revenue from better designed products and services.

Within the retail products sector, up to 20% of Australians are unable to access and use goods appropriately.

Inclusive design in ‘household goods’ and ‘clothing, footwear and personal accessory’ categories would see a $4 billion increase in revenue.

"Accessibility is often focused on compliance, and while that is incredibly important, this report clearly shows that inclusion drives economic benefit too," Microsoft Australia corporate affairs director David Masters says.

"Embedding inclusion in the upfront design phase ensures organisations are delivering products and services for everyone. Inclusive design is driving innovation at Microsoft and is a concept that all organisations should be embracing."

Both Adobe and Microsoft have inclusive design roles within their teams, who are in charge of driving transformation and rethinking products.