These are the three principles for , plus a bonus.

1. Recognize Diversity and Uniqueness

As individuals spread out from the hypothetical average, the needs of individuals that are outliers, or at the margins, become ever more diverse. Most individuals stray from the average in some facet of their needs or goals. This means that a mass solution does not work well.

Examples of solutions in public spaces: Accessible drop-offs and parking spots, spacious accessibility washrooms, washrooms for families that include baby change tables, nursing stations, universal washrooms, sidewalk curbs and pathway ramps.

2. Inclusive Process and Tools

Inclusive design teams should be as diverse as possible and include individuals who have a lived experience of the users the designs are intended for. This also respects the edict “nothing about us without us” without relegating people with disabilities to the role of subjects of research or token participants in design exercises.

“This could’ve been better designed if they had asked us” is the feedback I heard from an “extreme user” on adding an accessible ramp to raised townhouses. We all have diverse experiences and our needs change constantly. Allow for adaptability and flexibility in your products with the one-size-fits-one approach.

3. Broader Beneficial Impact

It is the responsibility of inclusive designers to be aware of the context and broader impact of any design and strive to effect a beneficial impact beyond the intended beneficiary of the design.

Curb ramps are a universal design movement. It removes barriers for wheelchairs, strollers, hand carts, cyclists, skateboarders, runners and wheeled luggage.

A great example of a volunteer ran, non-profit organization creating ramps for a barrier-free space in our communities is the StopGap Foundation.

4. Rejection of Binary Categories for “disabled” and “non-disabled”

Adding on to the three dimensions, Alan Harnum explains that “disability can be experienced by anyone not included by the design of the product, system or service.”

Tommy Edison demonstrates in this video how a blind or visually impaired person crosses an accessible street in Connecticut and a non-accessible crosswalk in New York City.

Learn more about the Inclusive Design Guide.

Read about the User Stories and Key Insights in the second article.
Jump to the Process and Solution in the last article.

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