Welcome to The Inclusive Design Guide

The Inclusive Design Guide can be applied to digital design as well as to the design of services, the built environment and physical products. It can be applied to processes like workshops, meetings, conferences, and even our daily interactions with one another. It can be used by anyone. The Guide is ever-evolving as we learn more about how to design inclusion into all that we do. We rely on your feedback and contributions to continue developing these ideas.

    At the Inclusive Design Research Centre and the Inclusive Design Institute we stress the Three Dimensions of Inclusive Design:
  • Recognize Diversity and Uniqueness

    As individuals spread out from the hypothetical average, the needs of individuals that are outliers, or at the margins, become ever more diverse. Most individuals stray from the average in some facet of their needs or goals. This means that a mass solution does not work well.

  • Inclusive Process and Tools

    Inclusive design teams should be as diverse as possible and include individuals who have a lived experience of the users the designs are intended for. This also respects the edict “nothing about us without us” without relegating people with disabilities to the role of subjects of research or token participants in design exercises.

  • Broader Beneficial Impact

    It is the responsibility of inclusive designers to be aware of the context and broader impact of any design and strive to effect a beneficial impact beyond the intended beneficiary of the design.

Striving to work within these dimensions as we practice inclusive design, there have been many “aha” moments and exciting learning opportunities. We have aimed to capture these moments here in the Guide, in our growing constellation of Insights. We have also gathered together a collection of Practices, Tools and Activities in the Guide which describe some of the specific ways in which inclusive design can be put into action.

The sections and items that make up the Inclusive Design Guide are not meant to be followed in any particular order. You can begin wherever and whenever it makes sense for you, your team, and your process. Revisiting the guide at different stages in the project can be an effective way to integrate it into your work.
A schematic diagram demonstrating different paths through the Guide A diagram consisting of various shapes and colours (green circles, blue diamonds, red squares, and orange hexagons) arranged in a 4 by 4 grid. Black arrows are drawn in random directions, connecting some of the shapes to one another.