Introduction: Starting Inclusive Design Projects

About: Black sheep engineer, Chartered, and very silly. Currently living in the UK. I have been fortunate to have lived, studied and worked in Hong Kong, Norway and California. I believe physical models help people…

This project is part of a mini series / pilot, started with the Design & Technology Association (DATA), in the UK to explore how the subject might be improved. This guide is far from exhaustive, or perfect, but seeks to share some lived experiences of my career in inclusive design. 

If you are a teacher or educator, I would recommend looking at the first two projects:

Project 1 - is about losing the 'fear of failure', through a fun challenge. (LINK)

Project 2 - is about designing for others (from a Research & Development perspective of designing a 'Tool'). (LINK).

From these two foundations, it is hoped that students (and teachers) might be more confident to engage with someone differently abled to them, and discuss their life such that they might jointly hit upon a problem worth solving together, or a opportunity to design, build and test - and see if it has wider appeal.

I have tried to demonstrate the notion that designing for someone different to ourselves builds empathy and skill in researching in general, and encourages any designer (whatever their personal background, ability or circumstances) to reflect on the world around them, rather than consider individuals as 'broken' and needing to be 'fixed' - and instead looking at how things might include more people through better design (this is referred to as the Social Model of Disability, more on that later).

Indeed, classic D&T has traditionally been focussed on skills of making, which although necessary, are arguably not what constitutes the average contemporary designer's workload or creative process. Most modern designs are often using a select combination of their practical skills to create prototypes - but as tools that help get the heart of the matter: Often the 'breakthrough' is not just a clever mechanism or nice aesthetic, but an insight into our humanity that informs the meaning as well as the form and function of the resulting product. I strongly believe that Design as a profession is (and should be) increasingly preoccupied with the philosophical questions of why a thing should exist, and the context it exists in - as much as it is the production of the said thing (we will touch on Victor Papanek, later, also).

This guide is structured in the following two sections:

Discussion Starters - Some provocations to get students and teachers to explore their preconceptions about the world around them, and what ability vs disability means. The emphasis is not about being an expert, but rather to engage in deeper discussion. I think kids continually surprise people with their ability to see the deeper layers, and these are formative years not to dumb down.

Lessons & Projects - The intention of these projects are to start small, and gain confidence.

An 11 year old student might start by designing a 'hack' for a friend or family member, and this may inspire them to think about e how further studies of D&T and other skills lead to exciting and multifaceted professional work. Indeed, some may go on to work for a prosthetics company like Ossür, but I truly believe that skills from these projects can be applied to any career in Design - and some would say that even if you do work for a big company which has a less progressive mindset - that just as with the subject of Sustainability - the Inclusive Design mindset should come 'as standard' with any modern student. It is cliched to say, but 'Children are our Future' is simply a fact, so it's vital that if they are to be agents of change, and the leaders of companies in 20+ years time that they not only have the ideology, but also the tools to affect change on these matters. D&T at its best gives muscle and action to ideals and ethics. The future is ours to shape for the better.

Even though this work is aimed at KS3 (11-14 year olds), this could arguably be 'scaled' in complexity to younger or older students, and I'm certainly keen to know how this resonates with students, parents, teachers, and industry.

On a parting note, if we can formulate curriculum subjects like Philosophy, Psychology and History - these surely can be graded as part of Design. I am aware that right now this is not the case, but this is also a provocation that the most valuable Designs to Industry are ones which have a sophisticate embodiment of many learnings.

An A-Grade in modern Design should imply a mastery of mind and matter, not merely mind over matter.

Step 1:

This project has been commissioned by the Design And Technology Association (, as at the time of writing the subject has seen a reduction in students of around 70% since the subject was created. Yet many successful Designers (e.g. Jony Ive) cite D&T as a key subject in their formative years - helping them not only get hands-on experience, but also to learn the 'soft skills' of interviewing and observing people - and what is professionally referred to as 'user research' or 'user centred design'. As much as many creative courses at university are accessible with grades in only Science, Maths, Art and Engineering, D&T evidently gives a rare chance in school to create a real product and test it.

Step 2: Background: a Word on Ability...

The word 'disability' may seem completely factual, however when applied in design, it can a problematic word, as to take an example of my Dyslexia - there are certainly some things I find harder than others (e.g. reading), but there are also some things I find much easier (e.g. spatial and systematic visualisation).

I do feel disabled in some aspects of living, but I do not feel entirely disabled in all aspects, all of the time. I do not say this to be pedantic, or to get into semantics, but rather to get the classroom, (that might have a majority of 'able' pupils) to reconsider their own classification more closely, and that of others thereafter. The proposition by those in Inclusive Design is that ability is a spectrum -rather than dividing any classrooms into Group A (able) and Group B (disabled), such that A is 'helping' B. For example, I am dyslexic myself and have worked with people who are less impaired or disabled than me, and also with those with a different impairment or disability to me - the emphasis is not on the label of the person(s), but the collaboration together to solve a barrier to living a fuller life.

Anyone can be a designer, and we are all in need of something.

Ok, here goes...

Step 3:

I took the view of 'Everything you wanted to know about Disability - but were afraid to ask' with this section, as let's be honest, disability (or 'differences' in general) are 'taboo' subjects for many people, so I wanted to start with an invitation to start with the simple questions, and not be hard line about semantics or awkwardness. The Classroom should not feel like Twitter, and a 'there are no stupid questions' should be mandated.

Indeed, I've always loved Instructables' "Be Nice Policy" - which you see near every comment box, encouraging people to "Please be Positive and Constructive". As someone who is mixed race, my family was keen to impress the difference between 'malice'/'intent to hurt' and shall we say 'awkward ignorance', the latter of course should in most cases be given the benefit of the doubt and a second chance, if we really wish to encourage openness and progress.

Is this getting too 'off piste' for D&T? For some perhaps - if so, please bear with me... For most professional designers I know - hearing a client say 'no stupid questions' - is when we get excited, because it signals that we're not just playing safe, (or making another boring/pointless widget destined for landfill) - instead, we might actually learn something, and possibly do something real. Lean into it. Be kind and considerate, say sorry if you hurt offended someone, but also try to find out why someone holds a different view to you.

As a parent, I would rather my son feel they can ask an embarrassing question than remain silent, ignorant and afraid. I feel the 'Design Room' is a safe space in many companies, and Schools should also facilitate discussions of things students care about, but are unsure how to navigate. Teachers (or Parents for that matter) should also not be painted as 'Oracles' having all the answers, but rather as 'Guides' (or 'Facilitators' as we say in Design) to help us explore, form (or change) our opinions through evidence, and help providing emotional grounding.

In closing, this Instructable is a 'live' document, and was intended to be an ongoing project, so please suggest any great examples you think will get a classroom buzzing - but also helping them apply the philosophy to their practical work as a result. Thank you!

Step 4: What Is a 'Disability'?

To illustrate the limitation of the 'catch-all' nature of the word "disability", here are a few statistics which I think would be meaningful for students to consider in class (perhaps have them guess the numbers / classification first, and then discuss why they thought that assumption or awareness, and what would be better, etc.).

Some Statistics on Disability & Impairments:

The World Heath Organisation (WHO), estimates that around 15% of the world’s population has some form of disability…
…With 2-4% of these people experiencing significant difficulties in functioning.

Around 30-40% of the population are “neurodivergent”.
(Estimates range between 10-16% of the population are dyslexic - with a higher percentages in Arts, Design and Engineering - so chances are D&T students/professionals are a pretty neurodivergent bunch!).

Around 75% of the world’s population needs glasses / contact lenses.

The last number in particular points to not just a diagnosis - but a shift in perceived disability over time. (A useful article / archive, here). Given that you can buy fashion eyewear with 'non-prescription' frames, (presumably to look cool / smart / individual / etc.) - this is worth reflecting on how say 30 years ago when I was a kid, glasses were certainly not 'cool' at school, and were mostly available in only one shape with black chunky rims and heavy lenses. Technology, social perception and behaviours change. As a designer, you often consider history when contemplating the future.

What conditions do students think we now consider a disability or a lack of ability, which in 50 years time might not be considered so?

For further reading - I'd recommend Design Meets Disability by Graham Pullin, as a good overview, without being too intimidating, and having some well selected images of familiar products to illustrate the points made (Indeed, I later found out, he expands on the point about eye wear, and makes some worthwhile discussions about similar sense our bodies do or don't possess).

Step 5: If Disability / Ability Is a Spectrum - Where Are You on It?

As mentioned in the main video, I think it's useful to consider a 'spectrum of ability', and that things change with time.

This LEGO brick separator tool, (c.1990) is not considered a 'disability device', perhaps because we don't consider that for example my 5 year old son is not 'disabled' when taking bricks apart, yet as most people know who have played with LEGO from a young age, you cannot pull apparent certain bricks because you are not strong enough. He is not able, but we don't call it a disability, because of social expectations. So is the tool a 'assistive device'. Perhaps? If his Grandparents did it, and struggled, would we label them? Either way, my goal is not to play semantics, but rather to illustrate the point that 'disability' is largely a social construct.

If students are encouraged to worry less about labelling and pigeon-holing and categorising things - and that we should just look at the individual's needs instead, and focus on making their life better in some regard (with their participation), be it physical, cognitive or in some other respect.

The classroom task for students might be to look at improving something, by creating an 'assistive device' - but not to necessarily focus on a stereotypical 'disability'. The irony is that if they end up doing work with someone with a more serious impairment - the process of interrogating the problem is fundamentally identical: There is no fundamental difference in observing a child not separate LEGO bricks, and observing an adult with hemiplegia (someone paralysis of one side of their body) struggled to chop vegetables - the difference is our initial discomfort and anxiety around the issue. By seeking to establish 'new ground rules' in children, one would hope a more expansive view of ability would evolve in tomorrow's cohort of designers.

My intention of this example of a LEGO brick separator is not to downplay the severity of some conditions, but rather to not stigmatise them. If you went to a Doctor, with a severely infected rash in an intimate place, you would hope their analysis of you would not differ than if you went in with a broken arm. Of course the treatment may differ wildly, but the professionalism remains the same; to treat both with respect, knowledge, compassion - and sometimes even some humour...

Although I do not seek to speak for 'all disabled people', I can say that in a world of political correctness, people worry that when engaging with a disabled person, they must be automatically be treated with 'kid gloves' and so they adopt a solemn, somewhat pitying tone - feeling this conveys respect to someone already in pain and distress. Yet in my own modest experience of working with people with a disability for a period of time, it's more common than not that a few jokes start to occur, and then the dynamic changes to that of a more equal and open dynamic. Often there is a palpable relief that they can say something funny, frank - or often both. Many people are not looking for pity, but just rapport and support. My point is to avoid defaulting to a presumed solemnity, and instead just go with the flow of their and your personality as you would anyone else. I write this because it sounds obvious and perhaps is obvious to you reading this, but I've also lived through this not being the case. One of the reasons I love working in Design is because I do find the differences fascinating, but try to keep it a two-way street. A focus on 'co-design' I find always works out for the best.

To bring my point full circle - I would not pity my son for not un-clicking a LEGO brick, and we'd both feel part of whatever it is we're building/designing together, and if we use some 'assistive tools' along the way, this is still about being in the moment, irrespective of our differences in some thing or another.

Step 6: Am I Responsible for Other People's 'Disability'?

This is a short video from Scope which gets the point across simply about reframing our perception of ability and disability with regards to our environment and social norms.

Although children are unlikely to be 'at fault' for any civic inclusivity problems, as with so much in life, our values are shaped at a young age. One only has to look at many old buildings where architects didn't add Lifts/Elevators or designed Door Frames that were not easy for wheelchairs to pass through. This is not to imply that older architects are mean or dispassionate, but rather we are all products of our time - and we grow up into positions where we do actually build buildings, or design products. If we have not been used to thinking 'this is great for me - but what about someone different to me - do I exclude them?', then this is why starting young is key.

Although students might reasonably debate, it is a 'big effort' to redesign the London Tube stations to ALL have wheelchair access - as this is a mammoth task that is about retrofitting and adapting to an existing solution, when faced with designing a new system (like the MTR underground network in Hong Kong - which learned from existing systems such as the London Underground), there is an opportunity to do better with the benefit of hindsight. Hong Kong has one of the best mass transport systems in the world, and ironically those engineers came full circle, and run the London's Overground, inspired by the improvements from working in Hong Kong. To me this has a poetic arc to it, which one often finds after some years spent in design: Sometimes you need a clean slate to create a working alternative vision, and then you can better challenge / change the status quo. Some might say, this project with D&T is no different!

Although the MTR in Hong Kong is an understandably costly and complex example... a contrast to this would be Colour Blindness in Games/App Design: When you consider 8% of the population are colour blind, this is a huge percentage not to design well for. Either a different colour pallet not reliant on Red/Green distinction should be used early in the design process, or to have a setting to toggle on/off an alternative palette that can be easily viewed by those with colourblindness.

This is not to say students should not limit their ambitions to 'apps' and 'small things' - but some might imagine that their school probably has some 'problems' that need fixing to be more inclusive.

Some student / classroom projects might include looking at what things students see as being examples of the Social Model. Making them have reference even to problems in their school, and/or at home is worthwhile, as it becomes an everyday reminder. With this foundation, taking a field trip to best in class / problematic examples locally might be worthwhile. It is hoped, some might spark team or individual design challenges. Please share if you do so...

Step 7: Why Are 'Disability Products' Often Inadequate?

As discussed with the evolution of Eye Glasses, things evolve through multiple factors of social change, technological advances, medical research, and much more. I do not expect students to 'master' or even try to 'manipulate' all of these forces, many of which are out of anyone's direct influence anyway, but rather, to appreciate the fact they have influence on products of any nature - but especially assistive devices or niche products to help with a disability.

It seems useful to point out there are at least three ways that a disabled product can make it into people's lives:

- CRITICAL CARE: A medical company will commission a product to alleviate the problem or assist someone in some beneficial way. Prosthetics are a good example of this, but these have (until recently), been relegated to a purely function-first realisation, that lacks much personalisation and expression beyond the basic functions.

> (See interview with Nigel Ackland, below, for more on this).

- STRENGTH IN NUMBERS: If you are one of only 1000 people in a country of 100million with a condition, this is going to be hard to convince a company to design you a device. Although it would be 'nice' if they did, unless they are able to operate charitably (with good accounting of Tax offsetting and PR, etc.), it's hard to get traction. However, if worldwide there are 100,000 users out there, then this is starting to look feasible for a small company to take on as a viable market to service. Although not a 'magic bullet', the Internet has truly been a powerful factor helping communities form for support, but also to be visible such that companies can build business cases to make products viable.

> Consider the 'Kickstarter' mindset. How do things gather momentum and numbers to build better solutions?

- INCIDENTAL MASS ADOPTION: It could be that a condition has to bide its time to 'piggyback' on a bigger 'foundational' thing - and example might be that Hearing Aids (the non-invasive variety) have to wait until Headphones (created for music) are so omnipresent that a company like Apple can 'add on' some Accessibility Support to make these useful for more consumers who may not be fully deaf, but have a hearing impairment - specially adapted soft/hardware can help do this, and the cost is paid for by the mass market sales. To underscore the point: AirPods or Beats didn't start life as 'assistive hearing aids', they were highly desirable tech, which eventually grew more inclusive as part of gradual social pressure to do better.

> See Apple's Accessibility Site for more:

Although this is pretty nuanced stuff, and it might be worth 'backing up' a bit first - and begin by asking why some products are 'cool' or fashionable, and some are not? If 'design' and 'brands' are cited as being a factor in 'good design', perhaps ask why some brands don't make devices inclusive for everyone?

This is not to leave a classroom 'blunted by reality', but nor is it there to apologise for a lack of effort on bigger companies not to be more inclusive. Rather, from making that connection of 'what does it take to be more inclusive?', it hopefully makes anyone question which brands could perhaps do more?

What do the students think are 'good companies' and why?

Does this debate influence what companies they think they'd want to work for when older?

Step 8: But Design for Disability Is Slow!

I was aware whilst writing this, that it's easy to set the bar high, with big ideas and theory - and in reality, things are more complex to get things done. We live in a fast fashion world of consumerism, and I'm aware most folks reading this, teachers and young students, might find it daunting to embark on a Inclusivity project for the first time - I've been working in this on-and-off for some years, and I still find it tricky!

So I was thinking how to make the point that change is slow, and requires patience and persistence - but sometimes it's a small change that helps create bigger changes. Even changing a word can help...

I was writing this guide, and my spellchecker insisted that "neurodiverity" is not a word (I even googled it to check I spelling it right, as I'm dyslexic and doubted myself - but no, it's right!). The term was coined by Judy Singer in 1998. Some 24 years later, and Google/Chrome has not got around to adding it to it's dictionary. Yes - I added it to my dictionary - so no big deal, no harm done, right? - but it would be better if sometimes the 'Default' settings were preloaded with a more inclusive dictionary, or just updated (it is a web browser after all!).

The fact is, everything is changing all the time, and we rarely ‘get it right’ first time, but I think being willing to take onboard a correction or update like this is part of a continuum of evolving the narrative around inclusivity, and making differences like 'neurodiversity' more normalised. Whatever 'normal' is!

Step 9: But Can't I Just Make Cool Stuff and Not Worry About It?

I had the pleasure of studying in NTNU, Norway for a year at University under the ERASMUS scheme. Unsurprisingly, being a Scandinavian country, it had a firm grasp of Sustainable Design which was progressive and bold to say the least. Students designed automated recycling sorters in Year 2 of their university course, and built full size houses out of paper in Year 3, and I worked with the National Bus company looking at future concepts for greener travel in Year 4.

Sustainability was 'default' or 'as standard' with all the subjects. Which is why I'm reluctant to necessarily single 'Sustainable Design' out as just a 'module' here, and indeed, 'Inclusivity' should be treated the same. Neither should be considered an optional specialism or niche, but as expected as prototyping and costing.

With that said, do I think Design in schools might need to have a over-compensation - to push the mindset into greater prominence? Perhaps. I would not be against D&T being D&S if it means that Design & Sustainability were seen as being more pressing matters to our world right now. Sometimes the ends do justify the means.

Anyway, what I can say is that Victor Papanek's work literally changed my life. I read 'Design for the Real World' at an impressionable age: It's like being inspired by Greta Thunberg, but with some practical advice on what to do next with all that emotional rage! I say this not to undermine Greta’s work in raising awareness, but rather that many young people today feel like her, and it's understandably frustrating to have no 'outlet' or 'agency' for such ideals, when the world is truly in peril.

The value for a teacher to introduce Papanek to a classroom, is that firstly, he is 'one of your own kind' - he was a practitioner and and educator in design. Secondly, he does not speak in jargon and his work is exemplified by examples rather than just white paper publications. Some are quaint in hindsight and some are plain weird, but as a collective body of work over a remarkable career, it is forthright, compelling and comprehensible.

His message is simple: As a Designer, you make things that are desirable in a consumerist world, and you have a choice (at the inception of the design) to decide if it's responsible to put it out there in the world.

Or to put it bluntly 'do we really need this, or is it just junk destined for landfill!?'.

Asking kids to look critically upon a product in this light, more often than not builds a case for Inclusivity, as there is by definition less waste. This is an easy point to make, but a nuanced one to unpack in practice. Given that students might be only 11 years old, I am not expecting a full LCA (Life Cycle Analysis) of every D&T project (though a small one would not hurt), but highlighting concepts like 'End of Life' and 'Right to Repair' are highly relevant in Inclusive Design, as often such products are less fashionable and need to work for longer and be maintained.

Papanek also saw no real distinction in process between abled and disabled design - his work often explores both with equal vigour and commitment, and worth dispelling the myth that working in Design for ‘Disability’ etc. does not pay as a profession.

Step 10: Does Inclusive Design Lead to a Good Career?

It might surprise students to learn, a good number of Dyson Alumi go to work at companies like Elvie. Most students probably have not heard of Elvie who makes everything from revolutionary IoT pelvic floor exercisers to silent on-the-go breast pumps. Although your class might not have instantly thought of their mother's as being 'disabled', if they go home and ask 'hey mom, was having me at times difficult - perhaps slightly limiting, painful, etc.?' - I'm not sure if their mum will laugh at the understatement, or cry as the memories flood back. I'm only the dad, and boy, were those first couple years hard!

Applying the same empathic thinking to design, with a visionary CEO who clearly made working *with* the end user mandatory, Elvie has risen fast, with a range of elegant, technologically stunning, and above all - long overdue to a neglected 50% of the population.

I would also say that the best D&T film I have seen is a film not from Hollywood, but Bollywood - Pad Man (Link to Trailer), exploring a designer sought a way to create sanitary pads for some of the poorest women in rural India. My point is women are a significantly underserved and represented demographic in design in general. If tutors want to get into some of the stats around this, I highly recommend Invisible Women (Link). Written Interview here (Link). Short Clip for starting a discussion (Link).

If young men or women wanted a 'tip' for a 'big growth sector in years to come' - I'd say Design for Women! I could well imagine that Elvie 'can't design fast enough' (Report on profits - here), now that they are designing *with* women, and have a highly capable team, rapidly growing - the creative opportunities are huge, and largely unchallenged. They charge a premium for their products, and rightly so, being in the vanguard, and consequently their career prospects are not too bad either ;o)

As much as I think if students can be tasked to design automated recycling machines, I do not also see why they cannot design automated sanitary towel machines, like Arunachalam Muruganantham aka "Pad Man" (listed in 2014 as one of Times 100 Most Influential People in the World)... but I am also realistic about this needing a pretty confident teacher to lead this! If you are that person, please get in touch. I'll work with anyone willing to make 'the right kind of trouble' in the classroom.

Step 11:

Step 12: Exploring the Social Model of Design - in Schools

I worked on BBC's Big Life Fix on a project with fellow designer Ruby Steel, to help a young boy Josh, who was blind - to find his friends in the school playground at break-time.

The reason this project is a useful example to illustrate the difference between the Medical Model (fix the person), and the Social Model (fix the environment instead), is that we started exploring how we might attach sensors to Josh, and all sorts of GPS tracking etc. It got very involved, but we realised that this was not the best way to resolve the issue.

And to be clear - we got it totally wrong at first!

I want to be transparent about this, as it's all too easy to look clever in hindsight and hide mistakes, but I like that the documentary (search youtube for a bootleg!) was honest about the fact Ruby and I did start out as pretty inexperienced designers with good intentions, but then realised that we shouldn't be making Josh a 'bionic boy', but rather we should make his playground work for him, and his friends. This is the Social Model mindset.

The solution was to try to create a navigation aid, which we called 'yellow brick road(s)', which also had sounds at either end to help him orientate himself over time and practice. The 'road' had studs (like that you see at road crossings), and this functions like 'Braille for the Feet'. The trick was to not make the solution feel like a 'Disability Product - that was only for Josh', as this would single him out and potentially stigmatise him. Rather, the playground was simply a fun techy upgrade, that was fun for all the kids, and just happened to be easier for a blind person to navigate.



A Lecture on this (Push the Button):

I have mentioned the maxim from an MIT Media Lab project of "Nothing About Us, Without Us". With the benefit of hindsight, the answer to 'what would you do differently to avoid making the same mistake [with Josh]?' would be to work as closely as possible with Josh (and his family, friends and school), but also to keep a focus on the environment rather than his body, as something to augment or modify.

To come back to school lessons, what might help people around the schools, who are less able in some aspect of their lives?

It should be made clear that anyone who has a disability should not be made to feel 'under the microscope', obligated to share, or made uncomfortable about their condition. Some people are happy to be a part of this sort of process, and some less so. Sometimes it might work best to have someone external, and sometimes internal. There is no 'template' for this, only being considerate of their feelings.

Step 13: Hacking Your Life

Back in 2019, I interviewed Nigel Ackland. I happened to have met him at Future Fest and had kept in touch following discussions about his bionic arm, and how the finger-tips wore out, but couldn't be replaced by the user. They had to be sent back for repair, taking weeks.

I happened to be working as Head of R&D and Tech at Sugru - a mouldable glue, that made a great DIY 'hack' to replace the fingertips. Yet as I got to know Nigel more, and his outlook on life, I learned more about his frustrations - from not being able to tie his shoes in the dark, to not knowing if something was too hot (when using the cooker).

We agreed that I should take a copy of his fingers, and try and explore modifications using Sugru. The video shows some of the ideas I came up with, and his responses to my prototypes. Although the outcome was not a 'product', it was more about the application of how he might use Sugru to achieve different effects. My contribution was more as 'Sugru Expert', helping him to DIY his own fingertips.

I cite this for students to make the point not only about a 'Hack' being part of the process, but that the end result might be a 'capability' or 'knowledge' that helps someone also. How that is disseminated is down to design methods - from observation, questioning and of course exploration of the problem through prototypes and discussions with the end user.

The relationship for any Designer/End-User (with a disability), will vary from case to case. What I feel is consistent is not to suppose that for Nigel to be working 'with' me that this implies he should be in the workshop with me, but rather that there is mutual respect that he feels he is influencing the design to progress by his values, needs and personality.

Nigel Speaking at Wired Health:

Copying the Fingers:

Modifying the Fingers:

Even if students are working with someone remotely, do not forget that prototypes can be posted, zoom calls set up, and feedback on a design given in a variety of ways. If the end user feels part of the design process and had a significant stake in the design decisions, the outcome is more likely to be better for all.

I also include this, as one might presume that working with Nigel's Arm is too complex for KS3 students, but in fact, the Arm was not the focal point - it was mostly about Nigel and his life that was the key engagement. From that came small ideas, but that mattered to him.

Step 14:


Designing for Disability by Graham Pullin. (LINK)

Invisible Women:Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men by Caroline Criado Perez (LINK)

Universal Principles of Design: 100 Ways to Enhance Usability, Influence Perception, Increase Appeal, Make Better Design Decisions, and Teach Through Design by Lidwell, Holden and Butler (LINK)


Pad Man: Upon realizing the extent to which women are affected by their menses, a man sets out to create a sanitary pad machine and to provide inexpensive sanitary pads to the women of rural India. (LINK)

Pushing Hands: All the while, Master Chu from Beijing tries to find his place in the American world. (LINK)

3 Idiots: Two friends are searching for their long lost companion. They revisit their engineering college days and recall the memories of their friend who inspired them to think differently, even as the rest of the world called them "idiots". (LINK)

Work-in-Progress - suggestions welcome!