Brand – Jul, 2021
Design – Jul, 2021

Inclusive design – what you need to know

The success of a business is in part determined by the number of people who feel drawn towards its services. Inclusive design takes this into consideration.

Inclusive design is the brand philosophy centred on the belief that your products or services should be accessible to the widest variety of possible clients as possible. Thereby, increasing market penetration and directly contributing to your business’s growth. 

In this article, we look at some of the key elements to inclusive design, and how you can effectively implement them in your company.

Who needs to be included?

Traditional and outdated ideals have led to large swathes of the population being excluded from the marketplace. One of the largest groups to face exclusion is the broad collection of those who face some sort of disability, a group of around 1 billion people, or 15% of the global population, according to estimates by the WHO. These disabilities cover an incredibly wide range, from the hard of hearing to those living with neurological disorders, with a whole host of health issues in between.

This demographic which has been ignored for so long deserves accommodating for, and is hardly a small niche financially. When combined with the effects that disability has on friends, family and carers, the market controls around $13 trillion in purchasing power. A failure to tap into this market is increasingly being recognised as both financially short-sighted, and morally dubious. The financial imperative, though compelling, should not the main motivator. Creating inclusive design should be part of any socially responsible organisation.

How can they be included?

Creating an inclusive environment for all is certainly a creative challenge, but one that should be embraced and can help your business grow in unexpected ways, both practically and ideologically. 

There’s no one way to make your design inclusive, and it will be an ongoing process of community cooperation and design evolution, rather than something to be achieved and then forgotten about. As such, inclusive design is not a fixed goal, but rather a principle – people’s needs are prone to ongoing change, and key to an inclusive approach is adaptability.

Listen to the excluded

The only truly effective way to achieve inclusivity is to listen to those who are excluded throughout the process. Listening might take the form of hiring people from that specific marginalised group, or holding regular consultations and focus groups throughout the design process. Inclusivity may be achieved through using a wide variety of media to convey messages and branding. 

Branding is overwhelmingly conveyed through visuals, but other senses such as the physical (with braille) and the auditory can be adapted with great success. 

Inclusive design is open minded

When people think of disability, often a wheelchair comes to mind. This concept of disability as both obvious and overtly visible is one which is outdated, but one which requires constant internal reappraisal. 

The vast majority of disabilities are invisible, and accessibility cannot be ‘solved’ with a ramp and a braille sign. Keep an open mind, and be ready to have your interpretation of disability challenged. Make sure that your approach to inclusivity goes beyond the tokenistic, and that any changes are both practical and effective in their realisation.

Are you ready to approach optimising the inclusive design of your brand? We’d love to be the team to help. Contact us via our form or call today on 01225 466080 for more information.

Posted by Jack Owen