I have virtually been working with Sarah Lohnes Watulak, Director of Digital Pedagogy and Media from the Middlebury Vermont campus, in imagining the DLINQ inclusive design studio. When we embarked on this quest, we set a series of inquiry questions for ourselves- Sarah wrote about her wonderings in the studio’s first post, so here’s mine. As I researched our question first question in our inquiry (what do we mean by inclusive design?) I have found the following threads of themes emerge:
Designing for inclusivity as it relates to:
- Technology and software design
- Architecture design and urban planning
- Curriculum and classroom design
- Modes of delivery design (this can tie into the two themes above)
The audience for inclusive design:
With infrastructural challenges for users accessing the designed product (this is broad and general, but I feel that’s what makes it so applicable).
For example, a low-income person may be unable to access a new technology due to cost. Or a person with a disability may be unable to access it because the design does not take into account design barriers.
As I keep coming across the same messages and themes, my research habits (and perhaps an appetite for finding something unique or hidden) keep me searching for concepts and ideas beyond the mainstream.
What aren’t we thinking about yet? What are we missing in our hunt? How can we mitigate dominant themes from shaping understanding of inclusive design as the only understanding? I suppose this is the way I hunt research because I am afraid of going along with existing narratives and ideas and accidentally erasing other concepts that may be just as important and valuable to the conversation. How can we ensure that we are not conceptualizing a new idea through a singular lens and then promoting that message as the only message? It is harder to remove ourselves from thinking a certain way or looking at the same messaging once we latch on to certain concepts or threads of thoughts.
Do you have any ideas of topics or ideas within inclusive design that you feel are not in the mainstream conversation? I invite you to share and help guide this thought process in our journey of imagining the inclusive design studio…