In my last blog post for the Inclusive Design Studio, I wrote about feeling frustrated and fearing I would latch onto dominant discourse about inclusive design and thereby missing other potentially important aspects relevant to inclusive design. In today’s update, I want to take a step back and explain what we mean by “inclusive design” for this initiative.

Before we began inquiring, my immediate ideas about inclusive design were about opening or creating access for people who are often left out of product design and planning in urban spaces.  It was hard for me to think outside of those specific examples. However, as we dived into the research process and I began thinking critically, I realized that every experience is designed. This may be obvious reading it, but I think it is important to point out that the combination of the words “inclusive” and “design” together have certain connotations. Inclusive design is a phrase used more commonly and familiar in the product design and tech world and city urban planning. Therefore, my association with that phrase became influenced by first exposure to the concept in urban planning, and product design.

However, the intention that Sarah and I have for this inclusive design studio is not to be limited to the digital and tech world or urban planning, but to reframe what we think about when it comes to inclusive design. Our decisions and choices to build, create, frame, plan, switch out something in favor of something else for convenience- all of these are design choices. In other words, DESIGN IS EVERYWHERE! Once you realize this, you begin to see design limitations in everything and ask questions like who was this made for? Who was not included? Who benefits? Who does not? And that is our foray into the Inclusive Design Studio.

Did inclusive design carry the same connotations for you? What is an underrepresented area of inclusive design you think we should explore? We value your thoughts- comment below to let us know.