Design For All / Design For The Individual
While we are aware that one size does not fit all, we are equally aware that without designing for the individual we will miss opportunities and innovations that bring us closer to a universal design solution. Inclusive Design is design for all by designing for every individual.
We once heard the argument being made that, “Assistive Technology and Customized Product Design are in direct contradiction to the underlying principles of Universal Design Practice.” We don’t remember who made the statement, or to what end he / she was arguing it, but we do remember very clearly thinking that they were missing an important point. The premise was that, to be universal, a design needed to accommodate the largest number of people possible, and that custom design for individual needs was exclusive by definition. While we are aware that one size does not fit all, we are equally aware that, without designing for the individual, we will miss design opportunities and innovative solutions that bring us closer to a truely universal design solution.
As long as we fail to design the inclusion of even one individual into a product or space, our design fails to be universal. The practice of universal design means understanding the experience and needs of every individual within a community and then designing to meet not the largest number of those needs, but the full spectrum of need. Inclusive design is design for all by designing for every individual.