Research Talk by Vanessa Patrick-Ralhan, University of Houston (US)
Dr. Vanessa Patrick-Ralhan from University of Houston (US) was the first guest in the Research Seminar Series this semester. She presented her work on Inclusive Design Transformation.
Inclusive product design is an approach to product design which takes into account the needs of diverse groups of consumers. It goes beyond mere compliance with accessibility laws, which sometimes means only giving consumers the ability to use a product in a limited way. Firms who practice inclusive product design take the perspective of the edge user, a consumer who currently does not even consider using a product because they are entirely excluded from its use. An example of a product developed in this way is Microsoft’s Adaptive Controller. It allows video gamers to control their video game play through a variety of different means, including controls activated with the head or feet. This accommodates video gamers who were previously limited or completely excluded by standard controllers. Products developed with such edge users in mind often find an application by a much wider market later so there is a business case to be made for the use of inclusive product design.
Dr. Patrick-Ralhan’s research focuses on the development of a framework which will allow firms to adopt a culture of inclusive product design. It involves interviews with many different practitioners of inclusive design and highlights the opportunities and problems associated with therewith. Thank you for your visit Dr. Patrick-Ralhan.