Inclusive Design

  • Takayuki ShioseEmail author


User-participatory design (also known as participatory design), in which the opinions expressed by users actively influence the development of products or systems, has received a lot of attention in recent years. However, it is quite often the case that users are simply interviewed about their needs before the actual design process has even begun, or are only invited in to evaluate the usability of products which have already been developed and thus cannot be easily modified. Inclusive Design is a new design method which aims to imbue products or systems with more universal value by involving specific users as lead users throughout the entire product-development process, first by thoroughly examining those users individual needs and then by developing, based on these needs, multiple scenarios which can involve a variety of other users (Wendy 2008; Clarkson et al. 2003). To give a few examples of Inclusive Design in use, such products as a new package design for drinking water and an easy-to-use nail gun for do-it-yourselfers have been developed by observing the actual situations in which people suffering from hemiplegia or rheumatism use the products (Clarkson et al. 2003). One of the remarkable features of this new approach to design is the proactive and deliberate inclusion of a wide variety of people as lead users, such as elderly and disabled users who had until now largely been excluded from the design process. Of course, Inclusive Design is not merely a means of drawing out the needs of minorities. What matters most is the simple fact that users do not have on hand a clearly defined, specific set of needs in the first place, much less the kind of vocabulary needed to determine or describe the value of, say, a new information service or piece of software that they have never before seen or touched. True innovation, that which is deeply involved in our society and in our lives, is the process through which users and system designers, working in collaboration, give shape to those needs which had not previously existed.


Design Theme User Participation Universal Design Impaired People Multiple Scenario 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Kyoto University MuseumKyotoJapan

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