Inclusive design aims to enable everyone to have an equal opportunity of being involved in every aspect of society, irrespective of cognitive, physical or sociocultural factors.
Have you ever felt excluded in society? Many people find it difficult to carry out simple, everyday tasks such as opening food package, making a phone call or making themselves understood when purchasing a pint of milk. Inclusive design is about making sure that as many people as possible are included and can equally use products, services and spaces. At Veryday, inclusion and catering for human diversity is part of our very DNA and founding values.
Swedish design has a long tradition of designing products and environments with emphasis on all end-users. During the 70’s and 80’s, attention fell on the less able and the needs of older people and people with disabilities. Design that included and accounted for these users gradually became somewhat of a Scandinavian trademark. International recognition came when MoMA, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, held an international exhibition titled “Designs for independent living” in 1988. Over half of the exhibited items came from Scandinavia and half of these were contributed by Veryday. Today we have a number of items in the permanent collection at MoMA.
Pioneers in inclusive design
Veryday offers grounded expertise in the theory and practice of inclusive design. Our inclusive approach goes back to the late sixties, before inclusive design even had a name, and has its origin in the design for the disabled.
Forty years ago when we visited people in their homes, we found that people had stopped eating certain types of food because of difficulties opening the packages, or performing certain tasks because difficulties in executing them.
As one woman put it:
“Vacuum-cleaning costs two pain killers, while cutting bread costs one”.
During the 70’s and 80’s our studies focused on understanding and mapping experienced difficulties in activities of daily living for people with disabilities. In several projects we developed new products that enabled people to carry out ordinary tasks.
The objective was to enhance quality of life for people with physical and/or cognitive disabilities by making attractive, appropriate designs.
When developing new products, we always commence by looking at the requirements and limitations of the users with less ability. We set out to learn not only what the users cannot do, but also what they are able to do. This approach is beneficial in all our design work.
Thru the years we have redesigned several familiar objects, many of which are still in use today, e.g. the first angled kitchen knife (put in production 1974), innovative walking aids, educational feeding spoons, an attractive body care tool series called “Beauty”, Doro telephones for seniors, concept ideas that aid people with ADHD – KOM (Concentration, Order, Memory), and finally a service for learning a second language (Språkskap).
Learnings from our in-depth studies with less able users have influenced our designs of other products too, e.g. the Bahco hand tools, the BabyBjörn plate, the SAS coffee pot and the RTI bicycle handles. These early R&D projects paved the way for Veryday’s strong end-user focus and the subsequent development of our design research methods.
We can proudly say that our designs have resulted in great commercial success for many of our clients.
Inclusive approach and practice
At Veryday we aim to create innovation for all people. The inclusive approach is to cater for as many users as is reasonably possible, to make us feel included rather than excluded. It is a way of tackling discrimination and to increase all individuals’ participation in social, cultural and political life.
By involving “critical” users in the design process we gain an understanding of the possibility of meeting all needs in one common product or service, yet without compromising business profit goals and customer fulfillment.