[community] Response regarding cost of Inclusive Design for Daniel Ura OCAD

Treviranus, Jutta jtreviranus at ocadu.ca
Fri Sep 8 13:45:14 UTC 2017

Hi Daniel,
With inclusive design, rather than designing for the largest customer base or the average or typical customer, and rather than designing to find the one best solution for the largest number of people, your goal is to create a design that stretches to encompass the largest range of diverse needs. 

If you were to take any population and plot their needs on a three dimensional scatterplot it would look like a starburst with a denser cluster in the middle and points emanating out from that denser centre. The dots at the periphery are individuals whose needs are not met by the standard designs and current markets. They are people with disabilities, people who are marginalized and people who are in very small minorities. They are not considered in traditional design processes. Their needs are more diverse or more different from each other than the needs in the denser centre which are more homogenous but also diverse. Collectively the dots at the periphery usually outnumber the dots in the denser centre. 

If you design for only that denser centre, especially as an entity like the government or a public entity that nominally needs to be available to all citizens or customers you will be repeatedly asked to modify your design or to provide additional alternatives. You will also find that for many contexts those individuals that had needs represented by the denser centre will stray to the edges and ask for adjustments. Taking software for example, each modification will likely be a bolt-on or hack. This will degrade your design and make it more difficult to maintain. It will look something like a house with all manner of things added on but not fully integrated. Eventually it will no longer work but not before the costs of maintaining and modifying it have steadily increased. 

If you inclusively design, you design for the largest number of those peripheral and edge needs. Because those needs are so diverse, this means you need to enable personalization, or one-size-fits-one. For interfaces this is attained through a flexible, transformable interface. For industrial design it can be achieved through an inherent and interoperable modularity or adjustability that enables extensibility. 

The inclusive design will be more sustainable, more updatable and also more transferable to initially unplanned new uses. 

The cost of the design for only the denser centre is initially less expensive but far more costly over time. It’s life span is also limited. The cost for the inclusively designed system that stretches to the edges is more expensive to begin with but it is less costly in the long run and will have a much longer life span. The inclusive design will likely take more time at the start but pay off in less time to retrofit, maintain and train and in longevity. 

Does that make sense to you?

Good examples of this phenomenon include the Web. Anytime edge requirements were included the systems lasted longer and were put to more uses. Think of the brittleness of things like Flash and Flex and then the longevity of CSS. Open APIs and open standards help with interoperability and inclusive design. 

I’d love to amass good examples of this phenomenon, I’m sure people can think of new examples. 


> On Sep 7, 2017, at 5:52 PM, Daniel Ura <danielura73 at gmail.com> wrote:
> Hi all,
> My name is Daniel Ura and I'm a graduate student at OCAD studying Strategic
> Foresight and Innovation. I'm starting my Major Research Project these
> days, which is about how businesses could integrate Inclusive Design and
> Frugal Innovation principles as a strategy.
> Felipe Sarmiento once mentioned to me that Inclusive Design is expensive in
> the short term yet cost-effective in the long term.
> I ask the community if there are any links (articles, research, essays,
> etc) that substantiates that claim. My hope is that by combining these two
> concepts, businesses can utilize Frugal Inclusive Design.
> I look forward to your responses. Thank you.
> Best,
> Daniel Ura
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