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European Inclusive Design Consortium 

“Delight your customers with winning products”

Increase sales, reduce costs and improve their market position through applying the principles of Inclusive Design to your products and services.

Inclusive Design in Action

Members of the ID2 consortium using University of Cambridge simulation glasses and empathy gloves to evaluate a check-in terminal at Heathrow Airport Terminal 2

What is Inclusive Design?
Inclusive Design can be defined 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 specialised design"

Inclusive Design is neither a new genre of design, nor a separate specialism.  It is a novel approach to designing in which designers ensure that their products and services address the needs of the widest possible audience, irrespective of age or ability.  As illustrated below, even where only a minority of people are excluded from using a product or service, a significant additional set of people may have difficulty or be frustrated when they try to use it.


Companies such as Ford, BT, Nestlé, OXO Good Grips and BSkyB have already successfully applied the principles of Inclusive Design to their products.

Why is Inclusive Design important?
Many leading companies now have excellent provision for people with single major impairments, including wheelchair users and people who are blind or deaf. Through our Inclusive Design consortia we are helping companies take the next step in practically applying Inclusive Design to mainstream products used by a much wider set of consumers.

A key target for the programme is learning how to better serve the large population of consumers who suffer from 'multiple minor impairments'. Many elderly people fall into this category. There are already 130 million people over fifty years old in the European Union - by 2020 one in two European adults will be over this age. Designing products that these people love to use is no longer just socially responsible, it also makes sound economic sense.

Cambridge University Engineering Design Centre (EDC) is a leading exponent of Inclusive Design in Europe. The CfBI has recognised the scale of opportunity afforded by applying new techniques in Inclusive Design to significantly improve the competitive position of many products and services that interface to the consumer.

CfBI and Inclusive Design
During 2016/17 CfBI has brought together leading researchers and practitioners from the EDC and elsewhere to deliver a third one-year consortium programme (ID-3) where companies are learning together, sharing experiences and receiving practical support in exploiting this major new business opportunity.  Its members include: Nestlé, Transport for London, Proctor and Gamble, GSK, RB, Smith & Nephew, BT and Stora Enso.

Work within ID-3 has included an enhancement to the EDC’s unique Exclusion Calculator, undertaken by the University for CfBI and ID-3 members.  The new Calculator enables designers to formally assess the demand required to carry out a task (e.g. unwrapping a product, getting onto a bus) across a full range of human abilities, including vision, hearing, cognition, reach and dexterity and mobility.  It uses a unique dataset which captures the occurrence of multiple capability impairments across the UK population.  Members have also supported the re-profiling of the dataset to suit populations in other geographies, including American and Far East nations.

The Calculator outputs the percentage of the selected population that would be excluded from carrying out the task, due to the demand required exceeding their capabilities.  Designers can use this information to direct their attention to changes which will include the maximum number of potential customers at minimum cost.  Previous projects have actually shown that inclusively designed products can come out cheaper than previous versions – often through simplification of the design by removing elements of the product or its packaging.

The ID-3 Consortium has extended the current Calculator to allow whole User Journeys to be analysed in detail and percentage population exclusions to be calculated.  This allows designers to evaluate alternative design options for products and services much faster than has previously been possible.

See here for a free version of the new Calculator, the full version of which is available only to ID-3 members and licensees. https://www.inclusivedesigntoolkit.com/exclusioncalc/exclusioncalc.html

Join our fourth Inclusive Design Consortium
The fourth Inclusive Design Consortium (ID-4) is now in planning for launch in the second half of 2017.  ID-4 members will gain access to the new Calculator and will define further enhancements.  They will also propose and steer projects to deliver Inclusive Design tools and solutions to meet their needs.  Meetings will include presentations and workshops from eminent European design practitioners.

Companies joining the Consortium can expect to make back the cost of participation (including cost of staff time) through increased sales and/or reduced costs of their first Inclusively Designed product.

Participation in the Consortium can form part of an integrated staff training and development programme, delivering valuable new skills within existing budget allocations.

Contact Rob Morland
e: rob.morland@cfbi.com
m: +44 (0) 7775 918263