World-first report: Research reveals inclusive design can expand customer reach fourfold
To highlight the importance of inclusive design, the Centre for Inclusive Design partnered with Adobe and Microsoft to commission ‘The Benefit of Designing for Everyone’ report, which was conducted by PwC. According to the report, people who experience difficulty accessing or using products and services are often not included in the design process. This can result in disregarding a significant percentage of the Australian population as well as costly retrofits for products and services, which can reach up to 10,000 times the cost of introducing inclusive design earlier on.
Findings from the report showed that the Australian education, retail and financial services sectors can benefit from implementing an inclusive approach in the design process. Within education, inclusive design can translate into an additional 228,000 tertiary qualifications earned in Australia which in turn can increase employment and salaries by $4.5 billion annually. Inclusively designed financial services can help more than 830,000 Australians experience improved financial capacity and capability, while in the retail sector there is a $4 billion potential increase to revenue from better designed products and services.
Five million Australians across the country are unable to access products and services because of poor design, yet they possess over $40 billion in annual disposable income. This number includes people living with a disability and seniors, however there are millions of Australians who are also vulnerable to exclusion due to location, gender, ethnicity or financial status.
Global technology and digital experience leaders, Adobe and Microsoft are innovators in the inclusive design space and two of the first organisations worldwide to recognise the importance of understanding the needs, wants and limitations of customers as part of the design process. Both companies have inclusive design roles within their teams, who are in charge of driving transformation and rethinking products.
Dr Manisha Amin, CEO of Centre for Inclusive Design, said, “Design that considers the full range of human diversity with respect to ability, language, culture, gender, age and other forms of human difference means more people are included. We commissioned the research to identify and determine the necessary means by which Australia can act to reduce these gaps. Inclusively designed products and services that have edge users in mind, can reach and benefit up to four times the size of the intended audience and enable organisations to increase their revenue by growing the size of their target markets. Designers, companies, and government all have a role to play, by designing, investing and legislating with difference in mind, so that a design process that is inclusive becomes standard practice.”
Jeremy Thorpe, Partner and Chief Economist, PwC, said, “Inclusive design is a no-regrets process that creates significant benefits which are currently being left on the table. It is an overlooked step in maximising the potential of Australian business and ensuring a more productive Australia.”
Suzanne Steele, Managing Director, Adobe Australia and New Zealand, said, “Inspiration can come from anywhere and anyone, and it’s up to Australian businesses to give employees accessible tools that can enhance the creation process to bring their ideas to life. Through our partnership with the Centre for Inclusive Design and Microsoft, we want to raise awareness of the importance for organisations to include a diverse range of voices and perspectives within their teams in order to reflect the diversity of the Australian population in their products and services.”
David Masters, Corporate Affairs Director, Microsoft Australia, said, “Accessibility is often focused on compliance, and while that is incredibly important, this report clearly shows that inclusion drives economic benefit too. Embedding inclusion in the upfront design phase ensures organisations are delivering products and services for everyone. Inclusive design is driving innovation at Microsoft and is a concept that all organisations should be embracing.”
The report analyses three key industries in Australia – education, retail and financial services – that can benefit from implementing inclusive design and drive financial, economic and social improvements. Among these benefits, businesses have the opportunity to increase their revenue by growing their target markets and include Australians vulnerable to exclusion, who possess over $40 billion in annual disposable income.
The Centre for Inclusive Design exists to help organisations and industries embody Inclusive Design and they have a range of consultation services to assist in the transition.