How Inclusive Design Can Lead to Better Innovations for Everybody

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Curb cuts first hit the streets in 1945 to help make it easier for people in wheelchairs to get around in downtown Kalamazoo, Michigan. Since then, they’ve found dozens of other potential uses, not only in helping people with wheelchairs around the world but also all manner of cyclists, scooter riders, stroller-pushers, and people who prefer to carry suitcases with rollers.

Universal Design (UD) is an approach to design that increases the potential for developing a better quality of life for a wide range of individuals. It is a design process that enables and empowers a diverse population by improving human performance, health and wellness, and social participation (Steinfeld and Maisel, 2012). It creates products, systems, and environments to be as usable as possible by as many people as possible regardless of age, ability or situation.