New British Standard addresses the need for inclusive design

Press release - 28 February 2005

New British Standard provides a comprehensive framework to help ensure the needs of the disabled are considered throughout the life of a product or service

British Standards Institution (BSI) is pleased to announce the release of a brand new British Standard – BS 7000-6:2005 Guide to managing inclusive design. This provides a comprehensive framework to help all private enterprises, public sector and not-for-profit organizations ensure that disabled people’s needs are considered throughout the lifecycle of a product or service.

The goal is to meet the needs of consumers of diverse age and capability in a wide range of contexts because appropriate access to information, products, services and facilities is a fundamental human right. Mainstream products and services often fail to meet the needs of all who could benefit from them, sidelining some potential customers to specialist providers.

How will the inclusive design guidelines help?

The new guidelines will help businesses to be inclusive so, for example, someone with a hearing loss will be able to buy a telephone in a mainstream store and choose the product and brand they prefer.

These practical guidelines for managing inclusive design were drafted by representatives from all parts of society including the RNID, RNIB, Design Council, Tesco Stores, Royal College of Art and design management experts.

“Inclusive design needs to be a key element in an inclusive business strategy,” comments Alan Topalian, Co-ordinator of the BSI drafting committee and Principal of consultancy, Alto Design Management. “Organizations that adopt a proactive approach based on a better understanding of consumer needs and aspirations stand to benefit from higher quality products, services and facilities; increased sales, customer satisfaction and loyalty; stronger brand values and enhanced brand recognition; and greater profitability.”

Jeremy Lindley, Head of Packaging Design at Tesco Stores, another member of the BSI drafting committee states: "We work very hard at providing for all our customers regardless of age or requirements; inclusive design is a significant contributor. Writing this standard has been challenging and enjoyable. It highlighted several improvements we can apply to our business."

Related news: Centre for Inclusive Technology and Design

The Department of Trade and Industry has awarded funding to help set up the ‘Centre for Inclusive Technology and Design’, a collaboration led by Scope, the leading disability organization, to work with blue chip companies in becoming accessible.

Other members include Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB); Ricability; UK Institute of Inclusive Design (UKiiD); Helen Hamlyn Research Centre, Royal College of Art; Cambridge University Engineering Design and Scientific Generics.

Over a two-month pilot period, CITD will work with 8 blue chip companies, auditing their key products and developing training packages for senior management. CITD will then go on to raise awareness and skills amongst corporations throughout the UK through consultation, research and training.