"Inclusive or universal design is the design of buildings, products and/or services that are accessible to, and usable by, as many people as reasonably possible without the need for special adaptation. For a design to be inclusive it must respect the needs of people with mobility, visual and hearing impairments, learning difficulties, and people from different cultural and religious backgrounds"
Margaret Hickish, ODA, Responsible for Accessibility and Inclusive Design of the Olympic Park and Venues, London 2012
"One thing I have learnt from working with Enabled City is that best practice products are not designed specifically for people with disabilities but rather not to exclude them. The difference is it makes them better for everyone consequently both your audience and income potential increases.”
Richard Celm, Accelerator manager 2006-2014 and 'Technology Startup Evangelist'
Why inclusive design matters
Our richly diverse populations are ageing, we’re technically capable and expect smart services to work intuitively and you have one opportunity to attract a new customer.
According to Disability Rights UK, 83% of disabled people had 'walked away' from making a purchase, unable or unwilling to do so. The most important factor was inaccessible premises. Other important factors that discouraged disabled consumers from spending were poorly designed products and staff who were not disability confident, were rude or appeared prejudiced.
The process is important, it’s not simply a destination
Our first mapping project was commissioned in 2006 along London's South Bank to "develop walking maps accessible for more than 1 disability group". Our experience in working inclusively with people with learning disabilities who often have hidden and multiple forms of disability including visual impairment and physical disability. For example they are 10 times more likely to have a visual impairment. Our understanding of the varying levels of learning disability gave us a unique advantage to design a mapping solution, that could provide practical way-finding support, for all people irrespective of ability, based on a system already used by people with learning disabilities during travel training.
Being user-led we formed a steering group boasting consultants with experience of every form of disability and were fortunate to be joined by the late David Morris, who was the Mayor's Disability Policy Adviser. David was a visionary, whose life's work pushed advocacy and inclusion way beyond physical and technical boundaries, and told us "accessible information should be fun and not disability specific" and "represent our diverse communities"
The first photographic maps won a Visit London gold award and were later used by London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
"The GLA was delighted to collaborate with Enabled City on this project. The flexible nature of this small, innovative company allowed us to complete this project in an efficient timescale without compromising its quality or content. It is always a pleasure to work on projects like this, that benefit such a wide audience and showcase how the Greater London Authority is helping to make the South Bank, and London, a more accessible and inclusive place".
Julie Fleck OBE, Advisor on the Paralympics, London 2012 Unit at the Greater London Authority
We are grateful to have development partners, Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, Tottenham Foundation, and expert advice from Tottenham Hotspur Disabled Supporters Association, to develop the new automated PhotoRoute service.
"This is a really good idea: an app from Enabled City for accessible, editable route maps in London, aimed at people with physical and learning disabilities, as well as people speaking English as a second language. That means step-free routes for people using wheelchairs, and photos taken along each route to aid navigation."
The Guardian Technology Apps Blog