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Improving inclusive design practice - transferring knowledge from sports design practice

Wilson, Nicky and Thomson, Avril and Riches, Philip (2017) Improving inclusive design practice - transferring knowledge from sports design practice. In: International Conference on Engineering Design. International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED) . The Design Society, Bristol, pp. 1-10. (In Press)

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A recent study (Wilson et al. 2015) found that the design process behind the design of sports equipment is highly user focused with the user fully integrated throughout the design process. This could be expected as sporting performance is dependent on the interaction between the equipment and the athlete (Stefanyshyn & Wannop 2015). It is hypothesised that aspects of the sports design process will be applicable other user centred design disciplines to improve user integration throughout the design process. This research will focus on inclusive design – a highly user centred design discipline that is particularly relevant in today’s society, with population ageing set to become one of the mostsignificant social transformations of the twenty-first century (United Nations 2015). Inclusive design is a design philosophy that considers the needs and capabilities of the whole population (Johnson et al. 2010). A global ageing population presents a strong business and ethical case that inclusive design can address. However, the uptake of the approach in industry has been limited (Goodman-Deane et al. 2010). This highlights that despite the existence of methods and tools to aid the implementation of inclusive design, more has to be done to increase the uptake of the approach in industry. This paper aims to investigate the potential of applying the sports design process within a product design context to improve inclusive design practice. The research utilised semistructured interviews with practising designers in industry and a workshop with inclusive design experts at a UK based centre specialising in inclusive design to determine the applicability of the sports design process model to inclusive design practice, what developments would be required in the model and what format these developments would take. The outcome of the paper will be a set ofrecommendations from practicing designers and inclusive design experts for the development of the sports design process model to improve the implementation of inclusive design in industry.