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    Illuminating the Invisible?

    Accessible Design in the Digital World Conference 2005

    Dundee, Scotland, 23 - 25 August 2005


    Michael Underwood


    The manifestations of inclusive design are currently somewhat invisible to a wide range of potential stakeholders and interested parties. The user may not be aware of the product features that make some products more suitable for their needs than others. The purchaser may not know what they should be looking for.

    The salesman may not have been briefed upon the needs of older or disabled people or how to sell to them. The marketing team may feel they cannot make overt reference to a product's inclusivity features for fear of alienating the core customer base.

    The product manager has little information on how many additional people will purchase his product if it is inclusively designed and hence has no objective basis on where to invest his development budget. And finally invisible to everyone, because as yet there seem to be relatively few successful examples in the real world.

    These "invisibility" factors all make the promotion of inclusive design much more difficult to achieve. This paper will examine these factors in more detail, drawing upon research into the potential business opportunities for products and services intended for the larger numbers of older people in an ageing population; a major market opportunity in the developed world. A number of conclusions will be drawn as to how inclusive design might be made more visible in the implementation of high-tech products in the digital world.


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