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November 23, 2015 / carlispina

Inclusive Design Toolkit

Last week, I wrote about the Design Thinking for Libraries Toolkit and today I will be taking a look at another toolkit meant to offer a new perspective on design projects. Though it may not be the first thought that comes to mind, in reality, Microsoft is continually involved in design projects. Viewed from this perspective, it is no surprise that they have put a lot of thought into design processes and ideals. One of the products of these efforts is their Inclusive Design Toolkit, which they have released under a CC BY-NC-ND license.

This toolkit has a more narrow focus than the Design Thinking for Libraries Toolkit. It focuses specifically on how design processes and projects can be more inclusive. As the manual in the toolkit emphasizes, this does mean making items accessible for users with disabilities, but it means more than this too, including making items usable for those with “permanent, temporary and situational disabilities.” The manual is a great introduction to these concepts. As the manual states, this is not meant to replace other design techniques, but instead “is made to work within an existing design process.” It is a great way of ensuring that your design team is on the same page regarding inclusive principles.

In addition to the manual introducing users to inclusive design, the toolkit also includes a separate PDF of activities that will help you gain experience putting the ideas from the manual into practice. These activities are set up to work with groups and have information about the expected length of time needed for them, which is helpful when using them in meetings or workshops. Taken together, these documents are valuable tools for making sure that your design practices are inclusive.



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