Inclusive Design Practice

Ethos and Approach

Our ethos for inclusive design rests on a few basic premises.

Rather than design something and then figure out how to make it accessible, we consider all vectors of human difference at the outset – not simply focused on physical and cognitive ability and disability, but including linguistic, ethnic, cultural, geographic, social, and any and all aspects of human difference.

Applying this methodology allows us to not only produce inclusive experiences, products, services, and programs, but allows for several concurrent outputs. Those include accessibility, interoperability, scalability, and sustainability. Our proven results mean not only a more rich and memorable experience for everyone, but an accessible, barrier-free, welcoming, and comfortable experience for everyone as well.

It is important to note that 1 in 4 persons in western society has a disability, while 50% of all adults over the age of 35 will have a disability in their lifetime. This traditionally underserved audience holds substantial disposable income, but so too does the demographic of persons over 50, which is also the market segment that has the largest volume of available leisure time. Designing and developing all aspects of an organization from an inclusive methodology is not only the right thing to do, but holds substantial capital value in terms of revenue, visitation, diversity of audience demographics, patron loyalty, ambassadorship, and ultimately in realizing learning potential. An engaged and comfortable audience is more likely to learn, enjoy, and retain positive sentiments long after visitation.

Our inclusive design approach, which we apply to all the projects we work on, not only ensures barrier free access while building patron loyalty but also helps ensure sustainable operations and the ability to continue meeting audience expectations in an operationally efficient manner as these expectations evolve over time.

Our approach is one that considers the ecosystem of experience design through multisensory tactics, surfacing strategic redundancies in affordances, and provoking a rich accessible experience design for all. The ecosystem we consider includes architecture and construction; environmental and exhibition design and development; lighting design and production; content development; graphic design & production; artefacts, objects, specimen, live animals, archival material, and intangible heritage; mounting and casework; digital media; mixed and transmedia storytelling; emerging technology; mobile computing; web; data ubiquity; audio and video design and production; tactility; haptics; scent; temperature; velocity; people existing within 3D space (staff, volunteers, and guests); and more. We consider the experience design scenario from before people arrive, through their on-site visit, and well after they have left. The intersections of these facets are just as critical as the facets themselves. We consider the inclusivity and accessibility of the offering, as well as the role digital media and systems play in providing sustainable, equitable experiences. Our approach is rooted in the basic fact that in today’s digitally enabled life, people are concurrently participating in, and navigating both physical and digital spheres concurrently. This provides enormous opportunities for rich, meaningful, and inclusive experience design.

Opportunities exist for all organizations to not only embed inclusive design within the evolution of spaces, but across all visitor facing offerings, thereby ensuring barrier-free, rich, accessible experiences for all. We are happy to participate in creating meaningful, inclusive, and rich experiences for everyone.