The British Standards Institute (2005) defines inclusive design as: ‘The design 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 specialized design.’
With that being said, Inclusive design doesn’t mean one-design-fits-all. It’s all about designing a diversity of ways for people to interact and participate so that everyone can belong. Inclusive design focuses on the vast diversity of people and the impact this must have on design decisions.
Inclusive Design Principles are about putting people first. Needs change. People change. Inclusive design is about designing for the needs of people with all abilities, whether permanent, temporary, situational, or in flux.
It is necessary to distinguish inclusive design from related concepts such as accessibility and universal design. They are not as similar as you might think. Accessibility can be defined as the qualities that make an experience open to all, as well as a professional discipline aimed at achieving same.
It’s important to note that accessibility is an attribute, while inclusive design is a method. The distinction is real. While practicing inclusive design should make a product more accessible, it’s not a process for meeting all accessibility standards. The two concepts should be used in tandem to ensure that user experiences not only comply with standards, but are truly usable and open to everyone.
Much more information about Inclusive Design and descriptions and examples of seven Inclusive Design Principles can be found at https://inclusivedesignprinciples.org/#introduction
The principles include:
- Provide comparable experience – meaning that a user interface must provide an experience that is similar in value, quality and efficiency for everyone.
- Consider situation – delivering a valuable experience to people regardless of their circumstances.
- Be consistent – Patterns of use should be applied consistently
- Give control – People should be able to interact and use the product in a way that suits them best.
- Offer choice – Different methods should be offered to achieve the same result.
- Prioritize content – Core tasks should be easily apparent and prioritized.
- Add value – Features should be assessed according to whether they add value to the user experience.