Inclusive Design Special Interest Group

Meeting 3


  • Tommy Petillo, Lecturer in Product Design, University of Dundee
  • Steven Birnie, Senior Lecturer, University of Strathclyde

Product Design Scotland Inclusive Design Special Interest Group (SIG)

Product Design Scotland has launched its Inclusive Design Special Interest Group to provide a forum for discussion and knowledge exchange in all aspects of inclusive design. The group aims to support technology/product developers by highlighting best practice, learning from the experience of others and connecting to a network of organisations negotiating similar challenges.

The group will meet on a quarterly basis with each meeting built around a theme (or market) identified by group participants. Group participants will also have the opportunity to develop the format for each meeting but in the first instance meetings will include:

– One or two presentations from invited speakers who will share their experiences of inclusive design in the design/development process.

– A group discussion around one or more key topics/challenges.


Decisions made during the design process can lead to outcomes that either enable or disable users: improving equity or creating greater division.

Designers rarely intend to exclude people but there is a natural tendency to extrapolate personal experiences and project assumptions onto people who have quite different needs. At best, this can result in a missed opportunity to deliver or exceed satisfaction for customers. At worst, the results can be catastrophic.

Inclusive design is a mind-set and approach that mitigates against this natural tendency, proactively and intentionally taking measures to ensure that the product, service or technology being designed enables equity of performance and usability for everyone – see Product Design Scotland Toolkit developed in partnership with Innovate UK KTN.

It might seem obvious and easy but actually, it takes deliberate and intentional effort. The good news is that the rewards are substantial.

– Access to new and underserved markets can be realised.

– Products are more likely to work as intended and meet a real market need.

– Products designed to be inclusive by providing equity of opportunity can often have benefits for the mainstream markets that are already widely served.

Failure to practise inclusive design can result in exclusion of intended customers, missed market opportunities, sub-optimal financial performance, and proliferation of systemic bias.


Mar 06 2024


10:00 am - 12:00 pm

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Product Design Scotland


DMEM, University of Strathclyde
75 Montrose Street


Technology Scotland
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