UNDERSTANDING THE USER IN DESIGN

PROMOTING ENGAGEMENT THROUGH INCLUSIVE DESIGN FOR INDIVIDUALS LIVING WITH INTELLECTUAL DISABILITIES
Author:
Cynthia Jih, Elizabeth Shirrell, Kimberly Mollo, Michael Barrett

 

Inclusive design uses the understanding of diversity in populations to create products that are accessible and usable by as many people as reasonably possible. Collaboration with interdisciplinary professionals and the users of the design products or environments are crucial partners in the inclusive design process to better understand design goals, criteria and needs, streamline the design process, and improve outcomes. A 15-week experience demonstrated the benefits and areas of friction in the design process through a collaborative design project with visual communication design students, occupational therapy doctoral students, and an organization serving individuals with intellectual disability. The design project aimed to increase engagement  and participation in the cooking process for adults with intellectual disability through the creation of an accessible cookbook and user testing of prototypes to improve functionality of future iterations. Lessons learned from the experience are discussed to inform future design collaborations with users and professionals from different disciplines.

 

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