Inclusive design could help retailers increase revenue

Electric rechargeable toothbrush with three toothbrush heads on black background with water drops. Focus on the power button.

Businesses could generate an extra $4 billion in revenue and reach more consumers if they built products and services with an inclusive design in mind.

That is according to new research from Adobe, Microsoft, PwC and Australia’s Centre for Inclusive Design released this week in PwC’s report, The Benefit of Designing for Everyone.

The report reveals that five million Australians are unable to access products and services because of poor design, and yet they possess over $40 billion in annual disposable income.

This number includes people living with a disability and seniors, however there are millions of Australians who are also vulnerable to exclusion due to location, gender, ethnicity or financial status.

Within the retail products sector, up to 20 per cent of Australians are unable to access and use goods appropriately, the PwC report states. Retailers could promote accessibility and improve the user experience for more consumers by using inclusive design.

This means keeping in mind the needs of people who have disabilities when designing products. Last year, for instance, Coles introduced an autism spectrum-friendly low-sensory “Quiet Hour” experience in 173 of its stores.

“The initiative has not only impacted shoppers with autism, but also shoppers who want peace and quiet while they shop,” the report states.

The benefit of inclusive design is that the products ultimately cater to a wide audience, not simply those with special needs. As the report noted, various retail products that were originally designed with edge users in mind are now used by a wide majority of consumers.

“Electric toothbrushes were created for patients with limited motor skills but have also become popular with consumers who don’t have this issue,” PwC said.

“Design that considers the full range of human diversity with respect to ability, language, culture, gender, age and other forms of human difference means more people are included,” said Dr Manisha Amin, CEO of the Centre for Inclusive Design.

“We commissioned the research to identify and determine the necessary means by which Australia can act to reduce these gaps.”

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