Inclusive Design (Inclusive Sig)

Track chairs

Farnaz Nickpour
University of Liverpool, United Kingdom

Hua Dong
Tongji University, China

Designing for Diversity; Inclusive Design as a catalyst for change? Critical perspectives and future opportunities for inclusive design, research and policy-making.

Within the past three decades, the concept of design for inclusion (also referred to as Inclusive Design, Universal Design or Design for All) has witnessed recognition and growth as a valuable and relevant area of practice, research and policy-making, contributing to overall quality of life. As the field matures and as we face rapid and complex socio-demographic, economic and political challenges, there is an increasing need to revisit the core concept of inclusive design and to enhance its theories, scope and applications.

Moving beyond initial notions of ‘disability’, ‘ageing’ and ‘physical accessibility’, inclusive design needs to embrace wider, more challenging contemporary contexts and explore the full spectrum of ‘human diversity’ - if it is to act as a catalyst for change.

- Beyond ‘age + ability’
The contemporary societal context has highlighted cases of diversity and exclusion beyond age and physical ability. Hence the need to focus on issues such as lifestyle exclusions, invisible disabilities, neurodiversity, social mobility, etc.

- Beyond ‘physical access’
The focus of inclusive design, research and policy-making needs to extend beyond physical access. Thus, moving from ‘physicality’ to overall ‘quality’ of life and exploring non-physical and ‘psycho- social’ elements of inclusivity.

- Designed ‘for all’ – ‘by all’
The rapid growth of social networks and makerspaces facilitated by recent advances in ICT and rapid manufacturing, allow for innovative designs to be created, tested and made by a significantly larger part of society including extreme users, hobbyists and entrepreneurs. Social Product Development paradigms (including crowdsourcing, crowdfunding and mass collaboration) together with accessible home-use design and manufacture kits (3D printing etc.), could act as catalysts for inclusive design. This could pave the way for a new era of user co-creation driven by the people, not the enterprise, handing over the power to control inclusivity to the user.

This session aims to review contemporary contexts and new dimensions of design for human diversity, and explore the state-of- the-art in research, design and policy-making in this area.

Topics of interest in the broader realm of Inclusive Design include but are not limited to:

  • Neurodiversity (e.g. Autism spectrum, ADHD, Dementia) - addressing domain-specific dilemmas, innovations and best practices.
  • Invisible disabilities (e.g. mental health, chronic physical/sensory conditions, etc.) - addressing psycho-social dilemmas, innovations and best practices (e.g. products, services, systems and environments).
  • Contemporary and Lifestyle exclusions (e.g. obesity, diabetes).
  • Meaning-centred design - Aspiration, Desirability and Identity in inclusive design.
  • Psycho-social inclusivity - psycho-social dilemmas, innovations and best practices (e.g. in products, services, systems and environments).
  • Social product development - approaches and best practices.
  • New technologies (3D printing, open design, crowd clout, etc.) as catalysts for inclusive design.
  • Inclusive innovations in key and emerging domains (health & wellbeing, mobility, built environment, social care, education, etc.).
  • Extremism, inclusivity and diversity - design interpretations and interventions.