What is Inclusive Design?

The overall meaning of inclusive design is an application of universal design principles to create better accessibility in any built environment. The inclusive design practice exists to enable people living with special educational needs and disabilities and other physical or cognitive conditions to use a given space effectively.

Practising inclusive design principles and following accessibility guidelines can help to boost inclusivity in the following areas:

  • Educational settings, such as schools and universities
  • Commercial businesses, including offices and industrial settings
  • Healthcare, including doctors surgeries, hospitals and care homes
  • Sports and leisure facilities, such as gyms, swimming pools and spas
  • Public settings, notably transportation hubs, stadiums or libraries.

Essentially, inclusive design is useful for any setting that will experience regular use by a wide variety of people. Principles of accessibility and inclusion are important for promoting British standards set in various anti-discrimination and equality acts, but also helps many settings to function more effectively and efficiently.

Inclusive design may sound confusing, but we practice inclusive design in all of our work delivering bathrooms, changing rooms and washroom systems in a variety of sectors – so we are a good source of information. If you have a design or installation project to complete anywhere in the UK please feel free to contact us to learn more.

What Are Some Examples of Inclusive Design?

It can be difficult to understand the meaning and application of inclusive design. What defines inclusive design can sometimes change between different industries, countries and types of built environments. Accessible design practices are prevalent in a range of sectors, and they can even be incorporated into domestic settings too.

The following are some key examples of inclusive design principles in action in a few familiar areas:

  • Education: Automation is a core principle of inclusive design, so simple things like automatic doors, lifts and ramps are a good example of this principle being put into practice – such designs can make schools and universities accessible by everyone. Curb cuts are another good example in schools.
  • Workplace: Employers can provide assistive technology so that people with different needs can use equipment and do their jobs more effectively. For example, screen readers and modular office furniture may help people with various physical and cognitive needs to perform better.
  • Public sector: You can see examples of inclusive design all across the public sector. For example, braille signage allows people living with visual impairments to use spaces together with others. This is a good example of the togetherness principles that govern much of universal design.

It is important to incorporate inclusive design for people living with disabilities in mainstream schools, workplaces and public services. Inclusive principles can be applied to almost any area, including entrances, exits, hallways, classrooms, meeting rooms and workstations.

Our inclusive design practices relate to bathrooms, washrooms and changing rooms – so examples of inclusive design that we frequently use in these spaces include handrails, supports, alarms and other disability bathroom designs.

How Does Inclusive Design Improve and Evolve?

The standards necessary for the greatest levels of accessibility and inclusion in any sector are set by national authorities on a very broad scale, but they do not prescribe rigid criteria in many cases – leaving it up to the individual employer, education provider or business operator to decide how far they will go.

Certain legal requirements, such as wheelchair-accessible ramps, may be mandated for certain sectors (notably the public sector) but the standards require consistent development from advocacy groups to evolve. Organisations consult these groups and implement their guidelines to demonstrate a commitment to accessibility.

Some countries, such as Canada, have inclusive design research centres, which can develop sector-specific principles that allow for greater accessibility and safe use by all types of people. These centres take great care to assess the needs of a variety of groups, and regularly reassess them and keep ahead of any emerging requirements.

Inclusive Design Meaning and Principles Explained

Principles of inclusive design revolve around promoting accessibility and inclusion, no matter the sector where they are in place. Inclusive design is familiar to most people on some level, notably in the public sector. Other names for this practice include universal design and design for all.

We practice inclusive design in our installations of washrooms, bathrooms and changing rooms across a variety of settings. If you have a project to complete anywhere in the UK we can deliver the best quality products and workmanship, all featuring first-class inclusive design.

Get in touch with us today to learn more.