This week at the Jules Baxter showroom the Design Institute of Australia hosted it's fourth instalment of its Conversation Series with a focus around designing for diversity. The three panellists, Tonya Hinde, Principal and Design Lead for Billard Leece Partnership, Jeremy Hill, Allied Health Manager for Guide Dogs Queensland, and Domenic Nastasi FDIA, Senior Designer at Dotdash, provided valuable insight into how Inclusive Design can be incorporated across the various design disciplines. The discussion was centred around how we, as designers, can facilitate the engagement of diverse community members and how it can be promoted as a business case.
Inclusive Design explained
Inclusive Design is centred around community and the diverse people that are a part of it. It's about designing with all abilities in mind, considering elements that have often been overlooked in the past. Whilst obvious inclusive design choices include wheelchair access, there are many more subtle decisions that designers can make to improve everyone's overall experience. Considering everyone's needs in aspects such as lighting, visual contrast, acoustics, materials, and wayfinding/signage ensures that environments can be used safely, easily, and with dignity by all.
Illustration by OrangeCrush
Why Inclusive Design is important
With its design aim to improve lives and the human experience, the benefits of inclusive design are innumerable. As well as being ethically sound, inclusive design is good for business. It diversifies engagement, as well as making the space or product more attractive due to its socially conscious approach. Inclusive Design not only allows everyone to comfortably engage in a space but opens up the possibility for more diverse voices within the design industry, providing more opportunities for All-Ability designers. With the world shifting and changing at such a rapid rate, we need to be able to design for adaptability, which has been made abundantly clear with the onset of COVID-19. With an ageing population it is increasingly vital that we design for all walks of life. Meeting the needs of our complex world fosters innovation, challenging designers to think of new solutions and engage in authentic collaborations.