Inclusive design benefits everyone
Read the latest research reports from the Research Institute for Disabled Consumers, funded by Thomas Pocklington Trust:
- Inclusive Design: manufacturing, design and retail expert views (May 2016)
- Smart Appliances and the Internet of Things: trends and impact for disabled and older consumers (May 2016)
- Inclusive design resources 2016
- Promoting inclusive design - our work with Thomas Pocklington Trust
- Read our guest blog post by Denise Stephens, who shares her passion, knowledge and experience about good design
Features that make products usable for disabled and older people can often make them easier to use for everyone. This is particularly helpful when people have to cope with short-term impairments.
What are the benefits?
One in five adults has difficulty doing everyday tasks. Meanwhile, the population of the UK is ageing. By 2035, nearly 1 in 4 will be aged over 65 years.
Research shows that inclusive products and services can reach a wider market, improve customer satisfaction, reduce customer returns, complaints and queries and strengthen brand reputation.
Our inclusive design work
We identify the features that can make mainstream products and services more inclusive by evaluating their usability for a range of users - including disabled and older people. This helps products reach a wider market.
It can also mean that fewer disabled or older consumers will need separate special services or assistive products.
We have carried out research on these mainstream products:
- Commissioned by Consumer Focus, British Gas and E.ON
- User trials and focus groups with 36 people including disabled and non-disabled people and older people
- The result: usability good practice design guidance, aimed at improving usability for all
- Plastic milk bottles - commissioned by Nampak
- Food packaging - commissioned by M&S
- Testing to CEN TS 15945
- Commissioned by the Communications Consumer Panel that advises Ofcom
- User trials and focus groups with 64 people including disabled and non-disabled people and older people
- Identified simple improvements to handsets that would benefit all users
- Commissioned by the Government to test and report on the ease of use of over 500 digital TV products to support the UK's Digital Switchover, 2005-2012
- Joint usability product testing with Intertek MK of digital TVs, digital recorders, set top boxes and universal remotes
- Usability testing of on-screen switchover messaging
We like these inclusively designed products:
- dropped kerbs
- wheeled suitcases
- speech recognition and speech-to-text output on mobile phones and PCs
- automatic features on cars, such as gears, windows, wing mirrors, central locking and adjustable seats
Last updated: May 2018