Good inclusive design logically requires two fundamentally different things – good information about user needs and good translation of that information into design characteristics. At present, there is often a disconnect between many of the people who gather information about the needs of users with disabilities, on the one hand, and the people who design products, on the other. The purpose of this paper is to discuss where and how product designers can benefit from research information and how that information can be provided most effectively by researchers.
Designers need information at three stages of their process – prior to design; during the conceptual design phase and once prototypes are available for testing. At each of these stages, there are a number of ways that research results can be made more effective in affecting design. The follow- ing suggestions come from years of trial and error: first, it is useful to use video; second, quantitative information is much more effective if it is put into a visual format; third, informa- tion is more effective if it remains in front of the designer; and fourth, good graphic design doesn’t hurt. The paper pro- vides explicit advice and examples for each of these points.