The aim of Inclusive Design, according to RICA (Research Institute for Consumers Affairs), is ‘to design mainstream products and services so as many people as possible can use them’.

The Future Foundation predicts that between 2000 and 2020, the over 50s age group in the UK will increase in size by approximately 20% whereas the number of under 50s will reduce by roughly 10%. By this time, almost 50% of Europe’s adult population will be over 50. In Britain alone, people aged over fifty already have a combined annual income in excess of £160 billion. One in seven of Britain’s population are classed as disabled. This group is estimated to have an annual spending power of £50 billion.

Many products are currently designed by young people and with a young market in mind. By not considering whether older or disabled people would be able to use products, these people can be (unwittingly) excluded. Disability is not a minority issue - everyone’s ability naturally reduces as they age. Most older and disabled people do not consider themselves to have different needs, they want to purchase mainstream products like everyone else.

Inclusive design is not for older or disabled people, it is for everyone.

It is useful to note that a product which looks like it is for older or disabled people will exclude the young, or the more able sector of the market. It will also exclude a proportion of older and disabled people who do not want to feel disabled or elderly. This sort of design is not inclusive and at Sprout we avoid it. Rather than being a speciality minority practice, it is expected that all design will become more and more inclusive as the population ages.

Ergo-trowel for SKC.
The shape of the handle of this trowel was developed from user research with older and less able people but the resulting design is better for everyone.

It gives two additional means of applying a forward force to dig into the ground - firstly by using the arch between thumb and first finger and secondly using the palm of the hand on the end of the handle.