European Inclusive Design Consortium
“delight your customers with winning products”
Increase sales, reduce costs and improve their market position through applying the principles of Inclusive Design to their products and services.
Members of the ID2 consortium using University of Cambridge simulation
glasses and empathy gloves to evaluate a check-in terminal at Heathrow
Airport Terminal 2
Inclusive Design can be defined as:
of mainstream products and/or services that are accessible to, and usable
by, as many people as reasonably possible....without the need for special
adaptation or specialised design"
Design is neither a new genre of design, nor a separate specialism. It
is a novel approach to designing in which designers ensure that their
products and services address the needs of the widest possible audience,
irrespective of age or ability. As illustrated below, even where only
a minority of people are excluded from using a product or service, a
significant additional set of people may have difficulty or be frustrated
when they try to use it.
Companies such as Ford, BT, Nestlé, OXO Good Grips and BSkyB have already successfully applied the principles of Inclusive Design to their products.
Many leading companies now have excellent provision for people with single major impairments, including wheelchair users and people who are blind or deaf. Through this new consortium we are helping companies take the next step in practically applying Inclusive Design to mainstream products used by a much wider set of consumers.
A key target for the programme is learning how to better serve the large population of consumers who suffer from 'multiple minor impairments'. Many elderly people fall into this category. There are already 130 million people over fifty years old in the European Union - by 2020 one in two European adults will be over this age. Designing products that these people love to use is no longer just socially responsible, it also makes sound economic sense.
Cambridge University Engineering Design Centre (EDC) is a leading exponent of Inclusive Design in Europe. The CfBI has recognised the scale of opportunity afforded by applying new techniques in Inclusive Design to significantly improve the competitive position of many products and services that interface to the consumer.
“Through its close links with Cambridge University, the
CfBI has brought together leading researchers and practitioners from the EDC
and elsewhere to deliver a second one-year consortium programme (ID-2) where
companies are learning together, sharing experiences and receiving practical
support in exploiting this major new business opportunity. Its members
include: Transport for London, Heathrow Airport, Proctor and Gamble, John
Lewis, Waitrose, GSK, Stora Enso, Alexander Dennis, Glen Dimplex and Morphy
The third Inclusive Design Consortium
(ID-3) is now in planning. ID-3 will develop an enhanced version of
the EDC’s well-known Exclusion Calculator. The Calculator enables
designers to formally assess the demand required to carry out a task (e.g.
unwrapping a product, getting onto a bus) across a full range of human
abilities, including vision, hearing, cognition, reach and dexterity and
mobility. It uses a unique dataset which captures the occurrence of
multiple capability impairments across the UK population.
The Calculator outputs the percentage of the UK
population that would be excluded from carrying out the task, due to the
demand required exceeding their capabilities. Designers can use this
information to direct their attention to changes which will include the
maximum number of potential customers at minimum cost. Previous
projects have actually shown that inclusively designed products can come out
cheaper than previous versions – often through simplification of the design
by removing elements of the product or its packaging.
The new ID-3 Consortium will extend the current
Calculator to allow whole User Journeys to be analysed in detail and
percentage population exclusions to be calculated. This will allow
designers to evaluate alternative design options for products and services
much faster than has previously been possible. The new Calculator will
be ‘crowd funded’ by ID-3 members and will be available exclusively to
companies which contribute to its development.
Companies joining the Consortium can expect to make
back the cost of participation (including cost of staff time) through
increased sales and/or reduced costs of their first Inclusively Designed
Participation in the Consortium can form part of an
integrated staff training and development programme, delivering valuable new
skills within existing budget allocations.”
Visit the Inclusive Design Toolkit Website.