This website has been created by the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design at the Royal College of Art.
It is one of the outputs from i~design 3, the final phase of a collaborative research programme on inclusive design funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.
It has been designed to work in conjunction with the Inclusive Design Toolkit developed by project partner, the Engineering Design Centre at Cambridge University.
This short film directed by Marie Lenclos shows an overview of the i-design3 project and its research outputs.
The Methods Lab
A new workshop format for design students called The Methods Lab has been developed by the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design to work alongside this website.
What is its main message?
This website presents resources that support a general shift in design practice from designing for people to designing with people.
Considering people who are going to use or benefit from design during the design process is not a new concept in practice – many leading designers in the 20th century emphasised this relationship. Published examples include Designing for People (1955) by industrial designer Henry Dreyfuss and Designing for the Disabled (1976) by architect Selwyn Goldsmith.
However these relationships between designers and design users seem restricted to a quantitative approach based on measuring people’s bodies and analysing the usability of designs in relationship to people’s capabilities.
Gradually, this ‘designing for’ approach has been challenged. In the introduction to the EU-funded project Presence: New Media for the Old (1999), John Thackara urged designers and design researchers to reposition their relationship with ‘users’. He advocated a shift form ‘designing for’ to ‘designing with’.
Jane Fulton Suri of IDEO also presented this paradigm shift at the Include 2007 Conference – a democratic design development that encouraged ‘designing with’ people. This new model indicates that design practices should also consider people’s emotional needs rather than only their capabilities to use design, and should seek to involve them actively in a co-design process.