Inclusive Design Myth Busters

The following presentation debunks some common myths about Inclusive Design. It is accompanied by a nice book.

For more information on the business value of Inclusive design, also check this inspiring talk:

Rama Gheerawo: The Social Value of Inclusive Design from Norsk Designråd on Vimeo.

Users use, consumers consume, but people live (at 8:05 minutes)


The role of design is changing. Design is not just about aesthetic, functional or emotional needs. It can also play a key role in promoting sustainability and creating social inclusion. Companies that can use design to meet these challenges can increase profitability and leave the competition behind.

Most products and services are generally designed for the average user – a typically healthy, right-handed, white, young male. In fact the ‘average’ user represents a minority and is not representative of the wider population. People will be excluded from this group in one or more ways.

Inclusive Design can add value to your existing design or development process. Throughout the process there are a number of Inclusive Design activities and methods that can be added to create a more people-centred approach. You can adapt them to suit your purposes for specific projects.

Can Inclusive Design add value to your product? Using the checklist below, if you answer yes to five or more of these questions then an Inclusive Design approach will add value (from

Please note: the word ‘product’ is used in the questions. This could be substituted for design, service, environment etc.


  • Can you think of a person for whom your product would be challenging to use?
  • Are people with a range of ages and abilities going to use your product?
  • Do members of the public interact with your product?
  • Could your product appeal to a wider market?
  • Could your product be more relevant to its target group?
  • Could your product be used beyond its target group?
  • Do you think the needs of your target market are changing?


  • Are you operating in a mature market?
  • Do you wish to develop new competitive advantages?
  • Could increased user-friendliness give you a competitive edge?
  • Is your aim to innovate rather than imitate?
  • Is customer satisfaction important to the success of your product?
  • Is public perception important to your company?


  • Could your product be more intuitive?
  • Are your customers dissatisfied with any aspect of your product?
  • Do you think that having better information about your users would improve your product?
  • Is the usability of your product important?
  • Could your product be better presented to your customers?
  • Are you looking for new product ideas?


  • Do you wish to base your design decisions on real-world evidence?
  • Do you want to know what the key issues are facing your customers?
  • Do you want to know how your product could be improved?
  • Could understanding the limitations or successes of your product be useful in the future development?

Please tell me what you think!

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