Can the sports design process help the inclusive design community?

Wilson, Nicky and Thomson, Avril and Riches, Philip; (2015) Can the sports design process help the inclusive design community? In: Proceedings of the 20th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED 15). ICED, 1 . The Design Society, ITA, pp. 391-400. ISBN 9781904670643 (

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As the global population ages, inclusive design is becoming more important to companies due to customer demands and increased competition. It is also acknowledged that the use of a formalised design process is of commercial benefit to a company. There is therefore a need to consider the user more fully throughout the design process. Sports products are highly user-centred due to their need to improve the overall sporting performance of an athlete, therefore it hypothesised that strengths from the sports product design process could be utilised within the inclusive design approach. This paper reports on practical study, which investigated the similarities and differences between the sport and product design processes followed by companies in practice. It was found that there was little variation between the core stages of the design process, although large companies were found to follow a more structured approach than small companies. A key difference observed between the sports and product design approaches was the level of user involvement within the process. Sports companies showed greater user involvement, with usability and user performance being the emphasis of the process.