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.
Creative thinking and problem-solving are essential parts of the design process to turn ideas into innovation and break the barriers against creativity. One of the successful methods used in creative thinking is the SCAMPER technique. While there are different creative thinking and problem-solving techniques such as reversed brainstorming, Hurson’s thinking model, the six hats of critical thinking and Lego Serious Play, SCAMPER is considered one of the easiest and most direct methods. The SCAMPER technique is based very simply on the idea that what is new is actually a modification of existing old things around us.