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Inclusive Design

What is Inclusive Design?

Inclusive Design considers the full range of human diversity with respect to ability, language, culture, gender, age and other forms of human difference (Source: Inclusive Design Research Centre). Also known as "Universal Design," this approach results in products, services and environments that are accessible to, and usable by, everyone to the greatest extent possible. For example, a captioned video is accessible to deaf and hard of hearing individuals, helpful to second-language learners and anyone learning to read, understandable by those in noisy environments, and searchable by everyone. That's inclusivity.

Principles of Inclusive Design

These principles are based on the Principles of Universal Design (Source: Center for Universal Design, NC State University, 1997).

  1. Equitable Use - The design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities.
  2. Flexibility in Use - The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities.
  3. Simple and Intuitive Use - Use of the design is easy to understand, regardless of the user's experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level.
  4. Perceptible Information - The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user's sensory abilities.
  5. Tolerance for Error - The design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions.
  6. Low Physical Effort - The design can be used efficiently and comfortably and with a minimum of fatigue.
  7. Size and Space for Approach and Use - Appropriate size and space is provided for approach, reach, manipulation, and use regardless of user's body size, posture, or mobility. 


Goals of Inclusive Design

These goals are based on the Goals of Universal Design (Source: Steinfeld and Maisel, 2012).

  1. Body Fit - Accommodating a wide range of body sizes and abilities
  2. Comfort - Keeping demands within desirable limits of body function and perception
  3. Awareness - Ensuring that critical information for use is easily perceived
  4. Understanding - Making methods of operation and use intuitive, clear and unambiguous
  5. Wellness - Contributing to health promotion, avoidance of disease and protection from hazards
  6. Social Integration - Treating all groups with dignity and respect
  7. Personalization - Incorporating opportunities for choice and the expression of individual preferences
  8. Cultural Appropriateness - Respecting and reinforcing cultural values, and the social and environmental contexts of any design project

Cal Poly's Commitment to Inclusive Design 

"Inclusive Design: Teach-Buy-Design Inclusively" Poster Campaign

  • Cal Poly has created the following poster to spread the word about its commitment to adopting inclusive design across campus: Inclusive Design poster [PDF]


Inclusive Design Champions

  • Inclusive Design Champions is a new peer support network of faculty, staff and students who “get" inclusive design and can help recruit and support others on campus in adopting inclusive design in their areas. 
  • For example, Inclusive Design Champions may adapt the following presentation for outreach to various departments on campus: Designing for Everyone: Adopting an Inclusive Design Approach at Cal Poly [PDF]
  • Please contact John Lee at jlee245@calpoly.edu if you are interested in joining this network.


Excellence in Inclusive Design Award

  • Starting in Spring 2018, the annual Cal Poly President's Diversity Awards will include an Excellence in Inclusive Design Award, This award recognizes an individual or group that has created or implemented a program, service, product, activity, instructional method, or physical space that best exemplifies the philosophy, principles, and goals of inclusive design.
  • Applications of Universal Design in Postsecondary Education - University of Washington's Center for Universal Design in Education (CUDE) provides guidance and resources for applying inclusive design principles in Student Services, Physical Spaces, Instruction, and Information Technology on campus. 
  • UDL On Campus - Universal Design for Learning (UDL) in Higher Education; resources and guidance on creating and implementing inclusively-designed courses, media, and materials. 
  • UDL-Universe - Supports postsecondary faculty and staff by providing resources and examples to improve postsecondary education for all students, including those with disabilities. Developed and funded by California State University (CSU) Academic Technology Services.
  • CTLT's Access For All - Resource page containing information about Cal Poly workshops, services, and websites that can assist faculty with creating accessible course content.
  • Microsoft Inclusive Design Toolkit and Resources - Guidance and resources from Microsoft on applying inclusive design principles to practice. Includes Microsoft Inclusive 101 Toolkit, activities, booklets, and video clips.
  • Cal Poly Accessible Event Planning Guide - Guidelines for creating an accessible event that allows for the full participation of all attendees. Consider renting the motorized height-adjustable Inclusive Lectern from Facilities, if relevant to your event.

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