Design for all, universal design, inclusive design; whatever terms we employ, the important thing is core agreement about what these terms stand for. Design, which reaches beyond the status quo. Design, which lays the foundations for a straightforward, human approach and enables and promotes inclusion.
Inclusive design puts the user at the heart of the design process. Design for design’s sake doesn’t work. Inclusive design recognises and addresses people’s diversity, their different needs and circumstances.
Everybody should be able to participate in and enjoy art, culture and information freely and independently, and use products and services without any restriction.
At inkl. Design we meet these challenges with investigative curiosity and long-standing expertise. Our qualified and experienced staff understand the distinctive nature of individual needs and can tailor solutions for inclusive communication. Every single member of our team is committed to making the difference for inclusivity. This is what distinguishes us from other design agencies.
For many years, inclusive design solutions were all about accessibility and compensating for disadvantages which people with disabilities experienced. Very rarely was the approach truly inclusive and this led to less-than-ideal results. Though physical barriers were removed, users often had to take detours, which separated them from other visitors or users. It still contributed to a general stigma for disability and particularly if designed in a notorious ‘special needs’ style.
Rather then developing products and services for ever smaller target groups, a culture change is needed in the way we address the matter of inclusion. It should be based on an aspiration towards universal, fully comprehensive accessibility. We need to grasp the opportunities offered by the process of inclusive design by understanding the vast untapped potential inherent in the issues of both diversity and heterogeneity.
Inclusion of all people requires professional, innovative and all-embracing outlook, and readiness to pursue design solutions which may be off the beaten track. We have changed our conceptual approach so that inclusive design comes into its own.
We won’t come up with some off-the-shelf design ideas or last year’s retrofit. Innovative and inclusive products, services and designs need to be:
All our inkl. Design projects live up to these criteria. Nonetheless, we constantly review our guiding principles and develop them further. Inclusive design needs to remain constantly dynamic in its response to changing requirements.
“Good design enables, bad design disables.”
“A key principle of innovation is to design with the user. This includes designing with and for persons with disabilities.”
“For most of us, design is invisible. Until it fails.”
„Human needs are more diverse than some designers wish to see – or perhaps are capable of seeing.“
“The problem is not how to wipe out all differences, but how to unite with all the differences intact.”
Inclusive design requires a conceptual framework that significantly improves on any conventional design agency’s practices. Most of our clients have very specific requirements. inkl. Design solutions add further value to the product or service by making them accessible in many and varied ways.
Tailored usability analysis, workshops for clients, development of innovative design concepts and new manufacturing methods are all part of a process, known in design research as ‘Universal Design Thinking’.
Ultimately, it is important not only to recognise the diversity of people as creative potential, but also to make consistent use of it. We develop inclusive design solutions with their future users, disabled or not. This leads to living environments that are useful and attractive for everyone. We passionately meet this demand for change, which also affects us personally, on a daily basis.
inkl. Design contributes to a variety of national and international projects in design research. We carry out teaching assignments at the University of Applied Sciences in Berlin and support the National Institute of Design in Bangalore. We are members of the Competence Network Universal Design of the International Design Centre in Berlin, the association Design for All Germany and our social commitment is firmly connected with the non-profit association “Andere Augen” which we founded in 2009.
Certified further education trainings:
The traveling exhibition ‘Different Eyes – an exhibition about seeing’ operating as a pilot project for the development of inclusive art exhibitions