Inclusive design is:

…[t]he 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.

– British Standards Institute1

i.e. a design methodology that considers everyone, including the 20% of the population who identify as having a disability (“difficulty” in Microsoft parlance).

“Inclusive”, then, means designing products that may address the needs of a wide® range of potential customers/users, including those with disabilities and/or difficulties e.g. hearing, sight, cognitive impairment; restricted mobility; etc. There are a few ways to do this, including:

  • developing a family of products (or derivatives of products) that address specific needs (or solve particular problems) for different categories
  • ensuring that each product/offering has clear and distinct target users
  • reducing the ability required to use each product

Consider the impact on:

  1. People
  2. Profit
  3. Planet

… across the entire lifecycle:

  1. Development
  2. Production
  3. Distribution
  4. Use
  5. “Pass it on”
  6. Reprocessing

Seven principles for inclusive design: 1. Provide comparable experience 2. Consider the situation 3. Be consistent 4. Give control 5. Offer choice 6. Prioritize content 7. Add value

Further reading


  1. British Standards Institute (2005) standard BS 7000-6:2005: “Design management systems - Managing inclusive design” ^