Good design is inclusive design. It’s about designing for people and not about design for disabled people, and making places everyone can use. There is an opportunity for designers to think outside the box when it comes to inclusive design.
How spaces are designed affects our ability to move, see, hear, and communicate effectively. Removing barriers that create undue effort and separation enables everyone to participate equally, confidently, and independently in everyday activities.
In this day and age, the design industry must make an effort to create environments that encourage social interaction, integration, communication and respect – places that celebrate diversity and difference. In other words, places that are inclusive.
By challenging (or removing) the idea of what’s normal, designers can widen our capabilities of the built environment and better serve users.
Rethinking conventional architecture provides a blank canvas, opening possibilities for innovation and inclusivity within the built environment. 300 years ago, the prospect of a lift was inconceivable – now, they can be found in almost every building.
By accepting that all people, regardless of circumstance, deserve the same opportunities to participate within society (such as trekking up a mountain with their peers), architecture becomes something that enables a world where everyone can participate equally. It is important that we embrace and celebrate diversity and see this as a great opportunity for creativity. By balancing all of the possible uses of architecture, we can create solutions that are inclusive and usable by 100% of the population. It has been said that design enlightens and improves the quality of life. Great design is something that should be available to all sectors of society.
The Principles of Inclusive Design:
- Inclusive – so everyone can use it safely, easily and with dignity
- Responsive – taking account of what people say they need and want
- Flexible – so different people can use it in different ways
- Convenient – so everyone can use it without too much effort or separation
- Accommodating for all people, regardless of their age, gender, mobility, ethnicity or circumstances
- Welcoming – with no disabling barriers that might exclude some people
- Realistic – offering more than one solution to help balance everyone’s needs and recognising that one solution may not work for all