Dot Watch by Dot Inc Dot Watch by Dot Inc
ElliQ by Intuition Robotics, London ElliQ by Intuition Robotics, London
Bone Case by Park Pleasants Bone Case by Park Pleasants
Amazin Apartment by Future Facility Amazin Apartment by Future Facility

Access is a design opportunity rather than an obligation

21 : 07 : 2017 Fashion : Technology : Product Design

Global – Designers are recognising the needs of disabled consumers, creating assistive products that are reduced to their most essential elements.

With an estimated 1.3bn disabled people worldwide, our latest design direction Implicit Inclusivity explores how designers are addressing the need for and potential of inclusive design. The disability market represents an annual disposable income of around £1.3 trillion ($1.7 trillion, €1.5 trillion), according to the Return on Disability (ROD) Group, and as CEO Rich Donovan explains, ‘disabled people don’t want special products, but are hungry to be included in the mainstream consumer experience’.

A purely pragmatic approach to inclusive design can risk alienating design-conscious consumers, so designers are exploring accessibility as an opportunity to develop innovative and aesthetically driven products. They are shifting the focus towards ease of use by removing distracting visual details, prompting a streamlined and minimal aesthetic.

Innovating beyond the touchscreen, designers are creating new tactile and dynamic interfaces that communicate information in accessible formats. Advances in voice-user interfaces and braille-compatible technology are driving a new wave of optimised products designed to empower users.

The Big Picture

  • Innovative technology products that incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) are aiding people with physical disabilities, and have mass-market applications
  • Designers in the technology, fashion and UX sectors are creating products geared towards consumers with additional needs. Read our latest design direction Implicit Inclusivity