Inclusive Design

November 29, 2021 | Carrie

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International day of persons with disabilities
International Day of Persons with Disabilities from United Nations

December 3 is International Day of Persons with Disabilities and is celebrated annually around the world since 1992. The aim of this day is to "promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights and well-being of persons with disabilities." This year's theme is "leadership and participation of persons with disabilities toward an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-COVID-19 world." 

This is a great day to learn about and celebrate inclusive design! Inclusive design can be defined as "design that considers the full range of human diversity with respect to ability, language, culture, gender, age and other forms of human difference" without the need for specialized adaptations.

OCAD University is home to the Inclusive Design Research Centre. They have developed an Inclusive Design Guide which identifies the "three dimensions" of Inclusive Design:"

  • Recognize Diversity and Uniqueness - always consider the diversity and uniqueness of individuals.
  • Inclusive Process and Tools - inclusive design teams and processes are as inclusive as possible.
  • Broader Beneficial Impact - inclusive designers are aware of the broader context and impact of their design.

Microsoft has developed a toolkit on inclusive design. They identify the following inclusive design principles:

  • Recognize exclusion - recognize our own biases. Acknowledging points of exclusion can help us to generate new ideas and more inclusive designs.
  • Solve for one, extend to many -people can benefit universally from accessible, inclusive design.
  • Learn from diversity - People are at the centre of the process. True insights can be gained by including people with diverse perspectives.


If you'd like to learn more about inclusive design, check out the following library resources. To access,  you will need a current Toronto Public Library card. You can also use them with our Digital Access card.




Mismatch: How Inclusion Shapes Design


Inclusive Design for a digital world

Inclusive Design for a Digital World


Tragic design

Tragic Design: the Impact of Bad Design and How to Fix it


Digital Outcasts

Digital Outcasts


Courses from LinkedIn Learning (formerly

Online tutorials that you can take at your own pace. Create an account to track your progress. Course descriptions are all from LinkedIn Learning.

Universal Principles of Design: "Design is full of unspoken rules and obscure theories that, when applied, can dramatically improve one's own design. For the first time, we are documenting them all in one place. "

UX Foundations: Accessibility: "Learn how to incorporate accessibility into your design process and make your next web project more accessible to all people, including those with disabilities."

Digital Accessibility for the Modern Workplace: "Technology affects nearly all modern workers. Explore the digital tools and best practices you can use to create a more accessible, inclusive workplace."


Gale Courses

UI/UX design: "This course introduces students to and provides a basic foundation in UI/UX design, including competitive research, designing effective user experience, applying design aesthetics, testing for accessibility, creating professional prototypes, and summary reports and design proposals."

Designing Effective Websites: "Regardless of your current skills or level of knowledge, in this course you'll master the basics of web design and learn how to build sites that are better and more effective. You'll examine the tension between form and function, explore the six major states of the website development process, and learn the basics of user-centered design."