The Importance of Inclusive Design

The Importance of Inclusive Design

It is without a doubt that art, in general, is a flag-bearer for the most important causes. And as a product of art, design has its role to play as well. But, as much as we can ensure that we are doing our best for the planet, we must ask ourselves, what are our considerations regarding the people with whom we share this rock in space.

A Bunch of Inclusive People

We are, as you may know, a bunch of inclusive people – we say it all the time, it is on our website, and most importantly, it is a pillar of our very foundation. 

But, of course, we have yet to address the true definition of ‘inclusivity in design’, which makes this blog post a special one. 

 

You see, when it comes to design, there rarely is one correct answer – and as humans with varying interests, passions, desires, and experiences, often, what is right for most of an audience may not be suitable for a niche group. And it is in the niche groups that designers, in general, find success. 

 

Well, this was the case a few years ago – with various industries attempting to market their products and services to just one or two target markets in the hope for similar success. And some have found that success, but we don’t find stories about the failed attempts at targeted markets, which leads us to ‘survivorship bias’. 

 

In just the last decade, we have noticed a rise in inclusivity, whether in concepts, demographics, or generational stereotypes. We are only speaking about the design industry here – we cannot claim knowledge of other sectors. 

 

As said in a past blog post, inclusion can be beneficial in:

  • Tearing down the barriers of hierarchy.
  • Confronting inequality.
  • Allowing space for opinions from all walks of life can create a great space for creativity and production.

We see collaborations between young, free spirits and greying gurus to create the post-modern vintage. We see gender-neutral demand redefining pinks and blues, and most importantly, we see our youth implementing rooftop gardens and green, living walls in environmentally conscious design.

 

And similarly, we see an opportunity for growth, profit, and all things business-related. 

But we don’t have to look at just the financial side of things.

What is Inclusive Design?

According to the University of Cambridge, every design decision has the potential to include or exclude consumers. Inclusive design emphasises the contribution that understanding user diversity makes to informing these decisions, and thus to including as many people as possible. User diversity covers variation in capabilities, needs and aspirations.

 

They go on to provide a toolkit for Inclusive Design that you can access here.

 

Inclusivity in design is not simply something that is said without in-depth consideration. 

In our search to adequately align our organisation according to such ethos, we had to find the very principles that turn this vision into a reality. 

 

We have found, and are proud to share the seven Inclusive Design Principles: 

  1. Provide comparable experience 
  2. Consider the situation 
  3. Be consistent 
  4. Give control 
  5. Offer choice 
  6. Prioritise content 
  7. Add value 
 

For more regarding each principle, here.

 

What it comes down to is simple: Be good, do good – and create great experiences along the way. That is good practice.

How is inclusivity in design good practice?

Imagine, if you will, that you are invited to a meeting (considering the current climate, let us assume this is a video conference). Within this meeting, aspects directly related to you are discussed. 

 

And throughout the discussion, tasks are actioned that directly affect you, and even though you’re given a seat at the table, you are on mute, and your camera is turned off. So, you can pretty much see and hear everything that is said, but you’re not truly ‘included’ when your opinion is vital. 

 

If we take a moment to consider this scenario, we do not believe anyone will find it favourable. But, likewise, being included makes a world of difference to decision-making and progress.

Often confused with diversity, companies claim to be inclusive simply by employing people of different demographics for ‘lesser’ tasks. However, the decision-makers remain without change or are open to the employees’ opinions and ideas in designations below them. Thus, the company continues onwards with a singular point-of-view. 

 

Inclusion, which does incorporate diversity, refers to collaborations, openness to change, ability to adapt, and a general feeling of wellness and productivity. So yes, inclusion has been noted to increase productivity, as you can read about in detail here

The statistics speak for themselves, with more and more people calling for inclusivity in all facets of life.

How is inclusivity in design good practice?

Art calls to some more than it does to others. And it is those who answer that call who eventually become artists and designers. 

 

Understanding this, it is usually those with an inclination for the abstract or the love of turning imagination into reality who apply for positions within this field. A great example that we can offer is our founder, Giulia. 

 

Taking the step to enter the male-dominated sphere of the construction industry has led to her founding and is an essential part of Metiu Design. But, of course, her passion for design continues in her work and translates into great experiences. 

 

However, through her inclusion of business partner, Valerio, Giulia’s work continued in designing and expanding the business by leveraging the networks and knowledge of Valerio. 

 

Valerio, on the other hand, has a background in hospitality and real estate.  When one considers how different that industry is to construction and art, at least on paper, another point of consideration is highlighted: Art transcends all industries, and with the right relationships, art and design can be applied anywhere. 

 

By creating the right relationships, we succeed in design – whether the relationships be with suppliers, producers, colleagues, and even competitors. 

 

Relationships, however, are a two-way street. And that, beyond our paragraphs on the subject, is why inclusion is essential. 

 

If you’re not including, then you are dictating – so include and communicate. For instance, don’t just read this blog post when you can send us a message. 

 

Contact us here, and we will find time to share ideas, explore concepts, or have a great chat. 

 

Did we mention that we’re just a bunch of inclusive people? 

We are confident that you can be part of the bunch.

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