How to Get Started
The first step can be to begin to perceive the different levels on which accessibility can be addressed: web and digital accessibility, accessibility of space and place, products, services, or communication.
Universal design is an approach to designing things (products), buildings, and the environment (space). It evolved from barrier-free design in the late 1980s and during the 1990s. The approach respects everyone regardless of age, health, physical ability, nationality, cultural, religious, or social background.
The key aspect is functionality, usability, and user accessibility. It does not set aesthetic or visual criteria.
By definition, "Universal design meets the requirements of human diversity, social inclusion, and equality and creates equal opportunities for people in all aspects of life." Source
Nowadays, universal design requirements are also applied to digital and web environments and services.
In its broadest sense, it is about using products, services, space, or access to information without barriers and for all. This includes people with a disability or other disadvantaged groups (e.g., culturally).
We can look at accessibility from different angles:
Things, products, products
Buildings, places, physical spaces
Digital and web environments
Communication and information
Accessibility can help people with both permanent and temporary disabilities, e.g., a person in a wheelchair, a parent with a pushchair, a blind person, a patient after eye surgery, etc.
Participation means involving others in the creative process.
When planning the public space in your city, this would mean involving citizens in the process of creating the city by discussing the plan, mapping the needs of people living in the area, etc.
Planning your community centre's services means inviting your community and visitors to find out what they need, where we can make it easier for them, and how we can adapt services to better meet their needs.
If you're designing/redesigning an app or website, participation means inviting the users themselves into the process of identifying needs and creation. If it's an e-shop, then involve customers, etc.
Participation is about co-creating with the people involved in a product, service, or place without thinking for them.
First introduction to universal design
Are you interested in universal design? Have you heard about accessibility but can't imagine what it actually is or what it looks like? Get familiar with this topic in this introductory article through the stories of brands like Stokke and Oxo.
When to start working on inclusive design in your team
All your accessibility and inclusive design activities are inseparably linked to the design maturity of your organisation. What is it? Get to know the different models in this article.
Step by step
Get familiar with the topic
A website or mobile app accessibility audit and mini training on creating an accessible website/service.
Expand personas and customer segment descriptions to include everyday situations customers may encounter.
First workshop/training on "How customers with disabilities work with our product".
... of terminology, standards, and processes.
A systematic approach to correcting errors uncovered by accessibility audits.
Collaboration with an expert.
Expanding recruitment criteria for research.
Hypotheses and research questions targeting the topic of diversity and inclusion.
Regular user testing with people who use assistive technology to communicate.
Targeted training and coaching.
Establishment of metrics.
... of knowledge, people, and activities across the organisation
Gradual involvement of customers with different handicaps, disadvantages, cultural differences, etc., in the usual design process.
Expert in inclusive design can become part of our team
Mapping opportunities across activities and processes within the company, e.g., HR processes
Upgrade your strategy
The topic of accessibility and universal design has a specific advocate in leadership.
Accessibility is one of the primary criteria and principles of decision-making, similar to financial indicators.
Universal design is embedded in the DNA of the company and its values.
Where to go next
Basic concepts (above)
Case studies from different areas
Where to go next
Where to go next
Book by the Norwegian Centre for Design and Architecture (DOGA) Innovating with people