Design for All is a process whereby designers, manufacturers and service providers ensure that their products and environments address users irrespective of their age or ability. It aims to include the needs of people who are currently excluded or marginalised by mainstream design practices and links directly to the concept of an inclusive society. A key feature of design for all is the emphasis placed on working with user groups representing the true diversity of users as a route to innovation and new product development.
The major drivers of design for all are population ageing and the trend to bring disabled people and cultural minorities into the mainstream of society; an increasing recognition that design for all can be a tool for commercial growth; and growing anti-discrimination legislation. New technologies are also a driving change - the challenge is that they are implemented in ways that include rather than exclude people.
Inclusive Design and Universal Design are terms also commonly used. Their definitions along with others can be found in the Glossary of terms.
A combination of reductions in infant mortality, low birth rates, and increasing longevity, is restructuring populations across the world. By 2020, one in five of EU population will be aged 60 or over. By 2050 those aged 65-84 will number 1.3 billion globally.
Recent and forthcoming legislation on a global scale will place significant obligations on employers, building managers, retailers and service providers, and eventually manufacturers, not to discriminate against people on the basis of age or capability....
Making things work better for everybody is a goal companies can embrace, and that can be rolled out in terms of improved products, services and customer relations. Progressive companies are responding in proactive ways and profiting as a result.