White Goods: Can they be inclusively designed?

A modern kitchen with a bowl of fruit in the foreground and a stove and microwave in the backgroundThe Research Institute for Consumer Affairs (Rica) is a UK charity that has produced a useful resource, Inclusive Design: manufacturing, design and retail views in relation to whitegoods and kitchen appliances. Three key themes emerged from their interviews and discussions: accessible designs are not always inclusive, marketing is never inclusive, and knowledge transfer is important.

The interviews uncovered examples of inclusion in some parts of the design cycle but there was no evidence of a systematic inclusion of people with disability or older people in the design process. They found that designers are using some tools and methods that support inclusive design, but this is against a backdrop of pressures to cut product costs. Language is another issue – inclusive design (and related terms) are not terms used by consumers or retailers. But if all goods were inclusively designed there would be no need to worry about a label – all goods would just be easy-use for everyone.  

You can find more resources on the Rica website