Design 4All: Inclusive design means removing barriers for everyone
Jaguar Land Rover
Hundreds of colleagues gathered to learn about the importance of inclusive design at the British Motor Museum this week.
Global Customer Insights’ Design 4All conference looked at how inclusive design is achievable and lucrative for businesses willing to tap into and explore this market.
The day was hosted by comedian and writer Juliette Burton, as a number of speakers, including from Cambridge University, BBC, Proctor & Gamble and The Valuable 500, explained the importance of inclusive design and shared some of their successes.
Visitors were also given the opportunity to participate in a panel discussion and interactive workshops, where they could gain a clearer insight into the impact that being inclusive as a business can have when implemented correctly. Colleagues could also experience first-hand what is like to use aftermarket accessibility adaptations in ride and drive sessions throughout the day.
Anne-Sophie Boettcher, Jaguar Land Rover Global Research Senior Analyst, said that most brands and society don’t know how to interact with people with disabilities and mobility needs, and that needs to change, adding:
“The best products on the market used by people with disabilities have not been designed for them. They just have very good inclusive design.”
Marianne Waite, Director of The Valuable 500 Campaign, which aims to put disability on the business leadership agenda and is supported by both Microsoft and Apple, believes Jaguar Land Rover is in the perfect position to make a difference in the automotive sector.
“If disability is not on your board agenda, neither is diversity,” she added. “There are big benefits for businesses that consider disabled people, including having access to a market the size of China with a spending power worth more than $8 trillion. It is one we can’t ignore.
“This isn’t about designing products for disabled people. It is about removing barriers for everyone.”
She added that the ambition of The Valuable 500 is to reposition disability as a highly stigmatised subject into one that is less so, and innovative form, function and design will help along the way.
A topic that was repeated throughout the day was redefining what ‘being disabled’ means. The speakers each commented that the common perception is of people with permanent disabilities. But actually the area stretches as far as those who are temporarily or situationally disabled, which could include recovering from a broken leg or simply having your arms full.
Sumaira Latif, Company Accessibility Leader at Proctor & Gamble, who is blind herself, said that everybody at some point is disabled in their lives, and being disabled is when something is not accessible.
“A misconception is that if you want to make something accessible it will cost more. That just isn’t the case,” she added. “It’s good business sense to focus on good design for all, because when a product makes you feel included, like my iPhone does, you have a strong love and loyalty towards that company.”
If you would like to find out more about the Design 4All event or inclusive design, email firstname.lastname@example.org.