The Singaporean government is committed to creating a more inclusive society, yet there’s a lack of initiatives which will make this a reality for all.
My interactions with designers and the general population point me to three barriers. One, there is a lack of awareness about the need for and importance of inclusion. Two, those who are aware of its importance do not know where to begin or how to move forward. Three, naysayers are dismissive of the idea and say that it’s impossible to cater for everyone’s needs and wants.
Here, I attempt to inch us forward from these barriers, I offer three tips to help you start taking the practice of inclusive design seriously. It isn’t as difficult as many suggest, but it takes a clear understanding of what inclusive design is to see why.
Product design is not a field in which one can provide a definitive solution that’ll guarantee the success of every project. As different trends come and go, new techniques and frameworks appear as an effort to perfect processes and provide the best results. What once consisted of simply providing a solution to a single problem evolved into a myriad of solutions, channels and platforms that can achieve similar goals.
The “Lean Startup” approach is based on a book by Eric Ries of the same name. The fundamental problem that the book addresses is that many companies:
Think that they know what the market and their customers want,
Make a lot of assumptions based on that thinking
Launch a long and expensive product development effort to meet what they think are those needs, and
Then find out that those assumptions were wrong
What Is the Problem?
That approach is typical for a company with a traditional plan-driven approach to project management. (That is what many people loosely call “Waterfall”). The problem isn’t really unique to startups; this problem can take place with any company of any size – it may happen more frequently with startups just because there is normally a higher level of uncertainty associated with a startup.
What’s the Solution?
The solution to this problem is to use an incremental and iterative approach to product development. That approach should have lots of customer input and feedback along the way. That approach is exactly what is used in an Agile product development effort. The approach would look something like this:
The Lean Startup approach is a good, common-sense approach for dealing with uncertainty in a business environment. It is a very useful concept that can apply to any business (not limited to startups). The exact implementation may vary from one company to the next depending on the level of uncertainty and other factors.
Design & Development: Leveraging social and economic growth through design policies – by Gabriel Patrocinio and Jose Mauro Nunes (eds.) has just been launched and is available at Amazon (Kindle) and other digital platforms (ePUB).
The book brings together a team of experts from around the world – including Gui Bonsiepe, Victor Margolin and Mugendi K. M’Rithaa (former ICSID President) – to discuss Design as a tool for national and regional development. Two exclusive and previously unpublished documents of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization are also reproduced in the book, after more than four decades.
Originally launched in Brazil, the book received two awards (in Brazil) and took part of two exhibitions in Europe (Lisbon and Madrid), being hailed as “a theoretical and academic milestone, with potential to change the current practice and understanding of Design.”
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Agile Engineering is a popular process in software development, but few hardware teams apply these practices to develop physical products. For many hardware teams, implementing Agile Engineering practices saves time and money and improves the end product.
Design languages began with the industrial revolution as a response to the emergence of machine culture and mass production as it encountered traditional artisan aesthetics. These base languages evolved into a set of aesthetics that are expressed today among various design languages.
a design language can be compared to an iceberg: there is its above-water, visible forms–its aesthetic, and a submerged, imperceptible body–that deeper cultural content upon which the aesthetic is based and only thanks to which that aesthetic can even be perceived as meaningful
The book begins with the origins of aesthetic movements in the 1850s to 1950s and moves on to the articulation of the early languages into threads which exist in contemporary culture. The final section of the book discusses contemporary design culture from the perspective of the threads of environmental sustainability and our daily immersion in digital technology.