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Why is Inclusive Design Important in Product Development?

Diversity & Inclusion Matter

In the modern world, diversity and inclusion are increasingly important values. Businesses and consumers are prioritizing it, and designers need to consider this when creating new products.

With such a fluid target audience and an increased awareness of the need for diversity and inclusion, designers must introduce items that appeal to and are accessible to everyone.

In this article, we’ll discuss what inclusive design is and why it’s important.

What is Inclusive Product Development?

Inclusive design is a type of product design that aims to create products that are accessible, usable, and enjoyable for the widest range of possible users by factoring in age, ability, and characteristics. 

Unlike traditional product development that attempts to focus on a target niche, inclusive product development casts the net wider, attempting to find solutions that make products applicable to a broader audience.

The Benefits of Inclusive Product Development

Wider Target Audience

Inclusive product design broadens the target market, allowing companies to make their products appealing to more people and increase their revenue potential. 

Improve User Experience

By considering the needs of a more diverse range of people, companies can create inclusive products that are easier to use, more intuitive, and more enjoyable.

Drive Customer Loyalty

Once consumers know you cater to their needs and others, they are more likely to buy your products in the future. They know they can rely on your business and its values to continually develop inclusive products that match their requirements.

Positive PR

When done correctly, companies can expect to receive lots of positive reviews and press for creating exceptional inclusive products. Furthermore, it could help with avoiding negative publicity if they ensure all products are compliant with accessibility laws and guidelines.

Inclusive Product Development Challenges

While product inclusivity is great and presents many benefits to businesses and consumers, inclusive product design can be challenging—especially if you’re new to it. Here are a few things to watch out for.

Lack of Experience

Inclusive design principles differ from traditional approaches. It’s important to consider if you have the knowledge and skills needed. If not, enlisting the assistance of an expert is recommended.

Budget

Often, inclusive products need additional features and functionality. Sometimes, this requires extra budget and time to produce. Before getting started, be sure you’ve got the numbers right, you have enough budget to create the product, and the target market will be able to afford the finished product. 

Stakeholder Resistance

Because of additional costs, the time it takes, and lack of understanding, some stakeholders may not support or see the value in inclusive design.

However, you can overcome this by presenting the reasoning for the additional cost (wider target audience and increased product value).

Furthermore, you could begin educating team members on the benefits of inclusive design and inclusive design principles to prevent it from taking additional time and money.

Examples of Inclusive Design Products

Apple Watch

To make the Apple Watch more accessible to people with disabilities, product developers included features such as voice-over, haptic feedback, and adjustable font sizes. 

Xbox Adaptive Controller

Designed for gamers with limited mobility, the Xbox Adaptive Controller features large buttons and a host of customizable inputs, allowing gamers to create a controller unique to their requirements. Now, gamers with mobility issues can play to the same level as—or higher than—people using traditional controllers, making Xbox more accessible and enjoyable.

Automatic Doors

A product most people take for granted and don’t pay attention to: Automatic doors are one of the best examples of inclusive products. 

Using motion sensor technology, they make it easy for anyone and everyone to enter and exit buildings or rooms. Whether you have mobility issues, have difficulty seeing, or are unable to open a door for any reason, the automatic door helps anyone overcome the problem they face. 

Conclusion

When done correctly, inclusive product development is a powerful tool that helps designers create accessible, usable, and enjoyable products.

By taking into account a wide range of potential user problems, companies can broaden their target audience, enhance their public reputation, and increase the amount of revenue they generate.

However, it can cost more and take longer to create inclusive products, so be prepared to educate and convince stakeholders that inclusive product development is the right path for your project to take.

Diversity and inclusion are core values of society that will continue to be important. You should take the time to research inclusive design principles and consider how you can work them into your products.

Think you’ll need assistance from an expert? Get in touch today.

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