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Inclusive Design

wide-handled rubber-grip peeler for ease of useThe basic definition of inclusive design is that products and services should be designed to be easily usable by as many people as possible. Taking into account the differences between people and their abilities, inclusive design looks at ways of designing products, services and the environment to suit the majority of people and avoid physical barriers and the need for adaptations. In other words, good design, where products are fit for purpose.

Lifetime Homes is an inclusive design standard which specifically relates to housing. Lifetime Homes make houses accessible and usable for as many people as possible. And where a house may require an adaptation, the Lifetime Home is designed to be easily adapted.

The Inclusive Design Toolkit (commissioned by BT and developed in partnership with the i~design research team) gives the ethos of inclusive design as user-centred, population aware and business focused. It is a misconception that a person is either 'disabled' or 'able'; people's different impairments and capabilities mean that it is essential to understand users correctly before designing products so as not to inadvertently 'exclude' users.

Successful implementation of inclusive design can result in a product that is functional, usable, desirable, and ultimately profitable."

Inclusive Design Toolkit website.

Most commercially successful businesses have embraced inclusive design. Notable examples of housing-related inclusively designed products are referenced in our Design Excellence pages.