10/3/2017 | Posted at 4:47 pm

Going Beyond the Code

GGLO has always been a proponent of accessible design. Yes, it’s the law, but it’s also an essential piece of our mission to design spaces that inspire community. We design distinct places where people connect and thrive – believing that the fundamental desire to interact and feel and be moved by something can be evoked through design. But to successfully create these spaces, we must consider the needs of all people, regardless of ability or phase of life.

When it comes to accessible design, the law is the baseline. We can do better. This year, we’re challenging our designers to go beyond the code. Our goal is to understand and design for everyone that makes up a community. We want to design spaces that incorporate accessibility requirements so seamlessly that the design stands out, not the code requirements. This is the idea behind inclusive design – considering the perspectives all future users to create a design that is in itself accessible, while also improving the experience for everyone.

Microsoft’s inclusive design handbook does a great job of explaining the goals behind inclusive design:

“Let’s face it, as designers, we often generate and evaluate ideas based on what we know. We strive to make experiences that solve needs, work well with the human body, and improve lives. But here’s the problem: If we use our own abilities as a baseline, we make things that are easy for some people to use, but difficult for everyone else. There are 7.4 billion people in the world. Our ambition is to create products that are physically, cognitively, and emotionally appropriate for each of them. It starts with seeing human diversity as a resource for better designs.”

By taking this approach, we can create great designs that account for all human experiences and interactions. Not only does this result in places that work for those with permanent disabilities and temporary injuries, but it makes our designs better. This month, we have curated a variety of activities to educate, inspire, and provoke experiences to push us all to design more inclusively. We’ll be sharing our experiences along the way, so follow along!