Inclusive design with Antonio Grillo

Design should answer questions rather than creating more questions and it only works when it seeks to achieve something for humanity. A positive experience for me could be negative for someone else. Worse, some people will not even be able to enjoy it because that experience isn’t inclusive. Moreover, experiences are not frozen in time, so a great experience for me today could become a really bad experience for someone else tomorrow. Think for a moment about a very simple case: the traditional water PET bottle. I buy it for a very affordable price, I can bring it with me during the day, it’s handly, lightweight, and easy to use, maybe I can refill it a few times if I want to, but at a certain point, I threw it in the disposal. That’s it. My experience as a user finishes at that moment. What comes next? Where does that bottle go? Who’s affected by my experience with that bottle? This simple example is dramatically scalable to all different kinds of products and services across the world. That’s the same for many new economies and recent technology services like bike-sharing, peer-to-peer home rentals, voice user interfaces, and personal assistants: they do create a beautiful experience for their users but have missed considering the impact on society of their solution, over time. Which impacts? Tons of unintended uses and wastes of bikes, homes bought for the sole purpose of generating income that restricted local inventory and inflated real estate markets in major cities, and the risk – mainly for children – to encourage the adoption of an “imperative command-oriented” form of communication, even among humans. All these examples explain how design can focus very well on some users but could exclude many other people (the society) from the design process. This is a designers’ responsibility.

From Antonio Grillo‘s point of view, who’s holding the module “Design to avoid exclusion”, this is the reason why the user-centric design approach does not guarantee a good design. Nor the human-centric one. To avoid all kinds of exclusion, we need to move quickly from human to humanity-centric design (or value-sensitive design): designers need to develop system awareness to avoid exclusion. This course is meant to provide tools and methodologies to design inclusive solutions, by reducing physical-cognitive, cultural, and economic friction during the design process. Students will learn to collaborate more inclusively as well as to apply tools to deliver inclusive solutions. Starting from the meaning of inclusive design and its different applications in many contexts, this course will explore further the role of designers and their responsibilities. The methodologies and tools learned will enable students to empathize with diversity through the entire design process and keep their focus on human-centricity. The first part of the course is meant to explore the meaning of inclusion and the business value of Inclusive Design. Followed by the importance of biases in the decision-making process plus tools to reduce individual biases. The second part will focus on team dynamics and the importance to behave as an “inclusive temporary community” to capitalize on the diversity of the project team. The last part will focus on the introduction and adoption of design tools from the Inclusive Design toolkit Antonio has created.

Let’s create together an inclusive design culture to design services that are accessible to, and usable by, as many people as reasonably possible, and that have the smallest impact on the planet ecosystem as possible.

[siteorigin_widget class=”WP_Widget_Media_Image”][/siteorigin_widget]