By designing for the widest range of people, you benefit everyone. That’s the ethos shared by Zeinab Chaudhary, Consulting Disability Inclusion Lead, and Becky Ferraro, Inclusive Design Lead at Deloitte Digital.
Becky’s mum has MS and is a wheelchair user, while Zeinab has her own lived experience of a physical disability. Their personal experiences sparked their initial interest in the need to design inclusively.
Zeinab and Becky have seen first-hand how design has the potential to exclude people. But they’ve also seen how true inclusive design can push boundaries and drive innovation – for businesses and society alike.
Becky and Zeinab share five things to know about inclusive design.
People interact with the world differently
People use technology in different ways, for a variety of reasons. For Becky, using her mum’s wheelchair gave her a whole new perspective on design. “You don’t know what someone else is experiencing without asking them”, she says. “My mum has MS and when she transitioned to a wheelchair I built her a ramp, but she refused to use it. I couldn’t understand why until I tried it out for myself.
“I realised that there was a slope and drop you couldn’t appreciate when designing and building it. That difference in perspective really hit home.”
For Zeinab, her own experience of a physical disability made her realise that people’s needs and circumstances vary – and mean they often face barriers with technology.
“During the pandemic, I was shielding, so online journeys became very important to me”, she explains. “But with many websites, I couldn’t get past a certain point without being sent offline, particularly when I wanted to return an item.”
Zeinab points out that 14 million people in the UK have a disability and 80 percent are acquired during their working life. “If they can’t engage with your business, products or services, you’re missing out,” says Zeinab. “There’s also your workforce to consider, whose needs may change over time.”
From a business perspective, considering inclusive design from the outset is always going to be beneficial.
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