Also known as ‘universal design’ or ‘design for all’, inclusive design is:
“The design of products, information and environments that can be used by all people, to the greatest extent possible.” (SensoryTrust, 2008)
Inclusive design is nothing new for Davis Associates. Designing to accommodate the widest possible range of users is fundamental principle of ergonomics and has been an integral part of our user-centred philosophy from the start. It is also not just aimed at older or disabled users. People of all ages and abilities can benefit from a more inclusive approach to design, for example those at a temporary disadvantage, such as mothers with prams, people travelling with luggage, tourists and non-English speakers.
However, the two main drivers in inclusive design are undoubtedly the ageing population and the desire to better integrate into society those with disability. Inclusive design addresses accessibility to products, services and the built environment and the need to do this is enshrined in legislation. The Equality Act 2010 requires that businesses must make reasonable adjustments to remove any barriers to their disabled employees and customers.
An ageing population emphasises the need for an inclusive approach - in the UK, approximately 48 percent of disabled people are over 65 (DWP, 1997). Over the last 25 years the percentage of the population aged 65 and over increased from 15% in 1984 to 16% in 2009, an increase of 1.7 million people. By 2034, 23% of the population is projected to be aged 65 and over, compared to 18% aged under 16 (Office of National Statistics, 2010).