Tool Guideline

The Inclusive Design Guide

Uploaded by RRI Tools on 10 January 2022

Inclusive Design Research Centre at OCAD University

The Inclusive Design Guide offers an easy-to-follow guide to help apply inclusive design insights, practices, tools, and activities to services, products, physical spaces, and inter-personal interactions and relationships.

It can be applied to digital design as well as to the design of services, the built environment and physical products. It can also be applied to processes like workshops, meetings, conferences, and even our daily interactions with one another. It can be used by anyone.

The Guide is ever-evolving as the authors learn more about how to embedd inclusive design into all our activities. They rely on feedback and contributions from users to continue developing these ideas.


What is Inclusive Design

What do we mean by Inclusive Design?

We have defined Inclusive Design as: design that considers the full range of human diversity with respect to ability, language, culture, gender, age and other forms of human difference.

The Three Dimensions of Inclusive Design

At the IDRC and the Inclusive Design Institute they stress three dimensions of inclusive design

  • Recognize Diversity and Uniqueness - As individuals spread out from the hypothetical average, the needs of individuals that are outliers, or at the margins, become ever more diverse. Most individuals stray from the average in some facet of their needs or goals. This means that a mass solution does not work well.
  •  Inclusive Process and Tools - Inclusive design teams should be as diverse as possible and include individuals who have a lived experience of the users the designs are intended for. This also respects the edict “nothing about us without us” without relegating people with disabilities to the role of subjects of research or token participants in design exercises.
  •  Broader Beneficial Impact - It is the responsibility of inclusive designers to be aware of the context and broader impact of any design and strive to effect a beneficial impact beyond the intended beneficiary of the design.


The Guide is structured into four main sections.

  • The Insights section captures the foundational ideas and values of inclusive design.

  • The Practices section describes more concrete methods that allow us to put the Insights of inclusive design into practice. 

  • The Tools section includes a collection of tools that can be used to support each practice

  • The Activities section describes specific activities that can be used to engage groups of people in learning more about inclusive design practice

The sections and items that make up the Inclusive Design Guide are not meant to be followed in any particular order. You can begin wherever and whenever it makes sense for you, your team, and your process. Revisiting the guide at different stages in the project can be an effective way to integrate it into your work.








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