Long Paper

Universal Access in the Information Society

, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 195-207

First online:

Using disability data to estimate design exclusion

  • S. D. WallerAffiliated withEngineering Design Centre, University of Cambridge Email author 
  • , P. M. LangdonAffiliated withEngineering Design Centre, University of Cambridge
  • , P. J. ClarksonAffiliated withEngineering Design Centre, University of Cambridge

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Exclusion auditing is a process that can quantitatively evaluate the inclusive merit of different products, or alternative design decisions. The results from such an audit can provide prioritised directions for product improvement and support the business case for reducing the capability levels required to use mainstream products. The 1996/1997 disability follow-up survey, conducted by the Office of National Statistics, is currently the most comprehensive data source for estimating design exclusion in the UK. In this paper, the data source is explained in detail, and a method is presented that uses this data to estimate the exclusion associated with several tasks that occur in series or in parallel, illustrated through worked examples. Having evaluated how many people are excluded, one can investigate why they were excluded, thus generating design insights into how they could be included. Data from the survey is also converted to a series of stylised graphs, which are intended to inspire designers to think about the relationship between the demands required to use a product and the resulting levels of population exclusion.


Inclusive design Usability data Product assessment