What is inclusive design? (with best in class examples)

Inclusive Design starts with collaboration with best in class examples

Ultimately, inclusive design is about people. To be inclusive, the design process should consider the widest range of end-user needs. This will ensure that all human beings can experience the world around them in a fair and equal way. To truly identify the widest range of needs, collaboration is of the utmost importance.

What is inclusive design?

Inclusive design emphasizes the idea of understanding user diversity and welcoming diverse people to engage authentically with your product, service, or organization. It considers various experiences for every type of user. The design should be based on the experience a user expects while using the product:

  • Usable design – how one can achieve goals efficiently and effectively
  • Accessible design – focuses on designing for people with diverse abilities
  • Ethical design – considers cultural and social aspects
  • Equitable design – aims at designing for groups with diverse identities.

The focus should be on needs, perspectives, and behaviors, rather than adapting designs for specific disabilities.

Inclusive design experiences, including usability, equitable, accessible, ethical.
Designing for all: Inclusive design experiences

Collaboration is essential

Inclusive design is part of the human-centered design approach – putting users in the center of your decisions. It considers the widest range of users – including audiences often overlooked in the design process. The involvement and integration of all types of people in leading and influencing this work is vital. By collaborating with a diverse range of users, unique insights about the product and its pain points are gained. The best designs position the community as partners rather than subject matters to study.

Why does inclusive design matter?

Everyone has abilities, and limits to those abilities. Designing for people with disabilities actually results in designs that benefit people, universally. What is often not realized is that by designing inclusively innovation outcomes and value for all customers is improved. Inclusive Design is a pathway to better products, systems, and experiences.

The iPhone, electric toothbrush, accessible websites, and policies – are all examples of products designed for edge users which offer benefits to everyone.

Below are some inspirational examples of inclusive design projects we have loved throughout 2021. They all showcase exceptional collaboration to create amazing inclusive designs over a range of products. We love that by making voices heard, all people are given a better chance to experience the world around them in a fair and equal way.

1. Kellogg’s world-first accessible on-pack code

We love the fact that Kellogg’s is trialing a world-first packaging solution for consumers with sight loss 💚.

The new boxes allow a smartphone to detect a unique on-pack code and playback labeling information to the shopper with sight loss. The unique on-pack code can be picked up from up to 3 meters away. The shopper can then choose to have the ingredients, allergen, and recycling information read aloud to them or read it on their device using accessibility tools.

The new boxes have been created in partnership with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB). With over 25% of the global population suffering from vision impairment this game-changing accessibility solution will be welcomed with open arms 🤗.

Find out more 👉🏼 https://bit.ly/30dN0jx

Kellogg's world-first accessible on-pack code
Kellogg’s smartphone accessible packaging a world-first

2. Mastercard’s inclusive Touch Card

We love that Mastercard is introducing a new accessible card standard by 2022 – showcasing their commitment to inclusivity 💚.

Called the Touch Card, the design uses differently shaped notches on the edge of cards to help blind and partially sighted people to use touch to distinguish among them. The designs could boost security for people with vision problems by alleviating the need to ask strangers for help identifying which card to use

Mastercard worked with the Royal National Institute of Blind People in the UK, and the nonprofit Visions/Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired in the US to discover pain points in existing cards offered by competitors.

Mastercard has made its new designs available for other card companies to use as well.

Find out more 👉🏼 https://on.wsj.com/3Hs7J3K

Mastercard's inclusive Touch Card - credit debit prepaid
Mastercard’s accessible card design removes barriers

3. Microsoft’s “adaptive kit” for people with disabilities

We love Microsoft‘s Surface Adaptive Kit for people with disabilities to be released later this year.

The sticker kit makes Microsoft’s range of laptops and tablets more accessible with keycap labels, bump labels, port indicators, and device openers. Making it so much easier for people with vision impairment or mobility problems to use their choice of computer. Microsoft claims that even the packaging itself has been designed to be easy to open so that someone who needs this kit should be able to access it themselves.

Microsoft has created the kit in collaboration with people with disabilities to make sure it covers a wide spectrum of needs.

Find out more 👉🏼 https://bit.ly/3qs1AP0

Microsoft‘s Surface Adaptive Kit for people with disabilities
Microsoft “adaptive kit” improves laptop accessibility

4. Olay’s Easy Open Lid with Braille text

We love that beauty brand Olay is leading the way in inclusive packaging design with the release of their Easy Open Lid.

The lid offers braille text, matte material, and winged edges for better grip as well as high-contrast labelling throughout the entire packaging design. The design sets out to accommodate a much wider range of consumers for those with visual impairment, issues with dexterity, and limb differences. The lid is offered at no extra cost for a range of their most popular cream jars.

To develop the lid, Olay met with disabled consumers with dexterity conditions, limb differences, and chronic joint pain, and who are blind or partially sighted. The team reportedly also met with external experts and incorporated a range of personal experiences into the new product design.

Best of all, they are hoping that other beauty players will follow suit by making the design of this disability-friendly packaging open for others to download and modify.

Find out more 👉🏼 https://bit.ly/3c1GEpx

Olay's Easy Open Lid with Braille text
Olay shares inclusive lid design with the beauty industry

5. Decathlon reimagines International Symbol of Access

Decathlon in Canada and Rethink has reimagined the International Symbol of Access to showcase the diversity of ability of those represented by it. 

Called Ability Signs, these new icons revamp the original wheelchair symbol created in 1968 with a sport, such as basketball, rugby, and tennis to name a few. The range of sports was inspired by Canada’s 2020 Paralympic team. Decathlon’s Ability Signs are intended to help broaden how we see people with disabilities.

The signs will be rolled out in-store across Decathlon’s shop locations, as well as their car parks this month. There is also the option for others to download and display the signs in their businesses and homes.

Find out more 👉🏼 https://bit.ly/3Hpndpo

Decathlon Reimagines International Symbol of Access with New ‘Ability Signs’
New “ability signs” to showcase the diversity

6. Degree: World’s first inclusive deodorant packaging

This groundbreaking packaging was launched by Unilever earlier this year.

The mission: to make the deodorant application process more accessible for users with limited grip and/or vision impairment. The Degree brand team worked with design experts from Wunderman Thompson, Sour, occupational therapists, engineers, consultants, and people living with disabilities worldwide to create the Degree Inclusive prototype.

The final design includes a hooked design for one-handed usage; magnetic closures that make it easier to take the cap on and off; enhanced grip placement; a braille label; and a larger roll-on applicator. To ensure the prototype is effective and accessible, Degree is now in a beta program to engage and get input from people living with disabilities.

We especially love the collaborative design process and beta rollout of the prototype to ensure it is best in class.

Find out more :point_right::skin-tone-3:https://bit.ly/30uT0nC

Degree Inclusive is a deodorant packaged for people with disabilities
Degree Inclusive is a deodorant packaged for people with disabilities

7. “Only for your eyes” braille coffee label

Did you know that there are 1.3 billion blind people in the world?

Supperstudio Design designed a striking label in braille for the cold brew coffee drink Only for Your Eyes to raise awareness of this.

The label is made of ecological, naturally soft, extra-white felt-marked paper. The braille dots are made with screen-printed ink and screen-printed varnish.

Only for Your Eyes is part of Build your Brand, the campaign with which Avery Dennison invited brands to join a revolution where small gestures can achieve big changes.

For this stunning, thoughtful design won gold in the beverage category Pentawards Awards 2021.

Find out who else was shortlisted 👉🏼 https://bit.ly/3jstaYp

"Only for your eyes" braille coffee label
Stunning packaging in braille to raise awareness for blind

8. Mistranslations inclusive design project

We absolutely love this design project on so many levels 💚.

Called Mistranslations, this project was set up in response to poorly translated official COVID-19 posters produced for non-English speakers. Mistranslations saw artists and designers reimagine key pieces of information with care through connecting with members of non-English speaking communities.

The grassroots of this inclusive design project was the collaboration between creatives and non-creatives. Submissions saw collaboration between designers and an Indigenous park ranger; an ‘aunty’ of Pakistani descent; in honor of a nana who spoke Assyrian; a designer who grew up speaking Cantonese as a first language.

18 posters in 16 different languages were collated into a thought-provoking exhibition that demonstrates how design can support our most vulnerable. Helping shape an empathetic future.

Mistranslations was also named by the Best Awards as a finalist for the Public Good Award.

Find out more 👉🏼 https://bit.ly/3nqleck

Mistranslations inclusive design project
Inclusive design starts with collaboration