The majority of new product or service development projects focus on time and budget. However, this focus can conflict with delivering the most commercially successful product or service. There is often the perception that design effort should be minimised in order to reduce cost and shorten timescales. In reality, the true costs of bad design (such as warranty returns from unsatisfied customers) emerge later in the product/service life cycle, and have the potential to cause irreparable damage to the brand image through customer frustration. Duergo aims to demonstrate that an inclusive design approach results in better products/service with greater user satisfaction and greater commercial success whilst reducing product development risk.
UNDERSTANDING AGEING AND DISABLED POPULATION
The demographics of the developing and developed world are changing; longer life expectancies and a reduced birth rate are resulting in an increased proportion of older people within the adult population. From the United Nations figures, there are 6.6 Billion people with a gender ratio of 49.6 to 50.4 living globally. The World Bank revealed over 600 Million disabled people globally (more than 10% of the world’s population).
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Figure 1: Global Ageing Population
According to the CIA World fact book in 2013, Nigerian is Africa’s most populous nation with estimated population of 174,507,539, with a Population growth rate of 2.54%, Birth rate of 38.78 births/1,000 population and Death rate o f13.2 deaths/1,000 population (Increasing population of seniors).
Approximately 25 million Nigerians live with a disability with 3.6 million of them having very significant difficulties in functioning. Regrettably, regardless of the high number of people with disabilities in Nigeria, very little support is allocated to them. People with disabilities are often excluded from product and service systems(PSS). Consequently, this viewpoint is a significant factor that promotes the social exclusion of people with disabilities in the country.
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Figure 2: Increasing population of Nigeria
Maintaining independent living for longer is therefore essential to maintain a sustainable welfare system. The ageing and urbanisation population also presents a market opportunity for inclusive design. By 2050 there will be 1.55 billion people aged 65+ years…… now, that’s a BIG market!
DESIGNING FOR OUR FUTURE SELVE
As people age, they often experience declining sensory, motor or cognitive capabilities. Yet increased age is also often associated with increasing satisfaction with life. Where previous generations accepted that capability loss and an inability to use products and services came hand in hand, the baby-boomer generation now approaching retirement are less likely to tolerate products that they cannot use.
“For boomers, technology is contagious. And they don’t consider themselves technology dunces. Instead, they blame manufacturers for excessive complexity and poor instructions.”
Typically, people are viewed as being either able-bodied or disabled, with products being designed for one category or the other. In fact capability varies continuously, and reducing the capability demands of a product results in more people being able to use the product and improves the user experience.
RISK OF BAD DESIGNS
If designers do not consider the capabilities of older users when designing products Users experience difficulty in using the design causing frustration, accidents, rendering the design unused or misused, users will not buy the design, Loss of revenue from sales, damage to reputation and a possible lawsuit.
Good design can happen by accident, but a rigorous inclusive design process mitigates business risk and ensures repeatable design success. In particular, understanding the diverse range of user needs can reduce the risk of undesirable and costly problems later in the product development lifecycle.
The importance of adopting good, inclusive design principles early in the conceptual design stage is demonstrated by a report from the Design Council (Mynott et al., 1994), which found that changes after release cost 10,000 times more than changes made during conceptual design.
One costly example of insufficient accommodation of user diversity relates to the US Treasury. A court ruled that the Treasury discriminated against the blind and visually impaired by printing all denominations of currency in the same size and texture. Following this ruling, in 2011 the Treasury approved adding tactile features to US notes (Bureau of Engraving and Printing, 2011) at an estimated cost of $6.6 billion (ARINC, 2009).
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At an estimated cost of $6.6 billion, tactile features will be added to US notes, because the existing notes discriminated against the blind, as they are all the same
VALUE OF GOOD DESIGN
Advancing technologies and digital interfaces mean that products/services can now offer more features at relatively low incremental cost. Indeed, companies can easily fall into the trap of competing in the “feature race”, trying to provide ever more features to keep one step ahead of the competition. However, increasing the number of features often hinders the usability of a device, due to the consequent increase in interface complexity and/or reduction in size of controls, symbols and text.
Philips (2010) found that the majority of Americans (63%) think technology companies don’t understand their needs when introducing new products. Indeed, 39% of Americans think these companies “fall in love with their own technologies”.
The impact of excessive complexity can be seen in results of a survey by Microsoft research. They asked users what they would like in the next version of Office, and found that 9 out of 10 people asked for something already in the product. (Extracted from Capossella, 2005). Other companies have delivered business success through a focus on simplicity, as described opposite.
Rather than just adding extra features, it is important to determine what functionality and features a product service systems should include. This can provide an impetus for true product/service innovation and competitive advantage. An appropriate framework for achieving this is provided by inclusive design. In particular, it is helpful to set an appropriate target population and evaluate designs against the full set of inclusive design success criteria.
INCLUSIVE DESIGN AUDIT AND TRAINING
At Duergo, we give expert assessments and evaluation to existing or a prospective product and services, to ensure inclusiveness in design. We offer trainings to help inclusive design practitioners or supporters to tell others about inclusive design.
- An explanation of what inclusive design is (at the highest level)
- Customer service centered practical sessions(using simulations). Duergo limited is proud to be the only company in Africa utilising state of the art technology (Simulations suits) to evaluate products/services and in training manufacturers, producers and service providers.
- Why inclusive design is increasingly important in society
- Why it is valuable for organisations to adopt inclusive design principles.
- The commercial imperative for inclusive design and an example of the success it can bring.
Our 1 day accredited inclusive design training course provides attendees with the skills and knowledge needed to carry out basic inclusive design assessments, as and when required. It is also suitable for anyone who has an interest in (or responsibility for) product and service design, including line managers, safety, HR, facilities, and healthcare professionals.
Attendees who successfully complete the course will be awarded certificates.
Practical assessment techniques and the resolution of common issues are a key part of our interactive and hands-on training, building on theory elements including ergonomics, the inclusive design Regulations and policy.
Public course fees are N350, 000 per person (VAT not applicable), which includes all course materials, refreshments, lunch, and unlimited future use of our inclusive design assessment documentation, if required. Discounts are available for multiple bookings: 10% for 2 persons, and 20% for 3 or more.