in· clu· sive [adjective] covering or intended to cover all items, costs, or services
in· clu· sion [noun] the state of being included; the act or practice of including students with disabilities in regular school classes

Inclusive design is a term that evolved from accessibility and universal designs and often used interchangeably with universal designs in the U.S. Countries such as Canada and Europe prefer to use the term “inclusive designs” with an effort to increase understanding among a wider audience and celebrate diversity. Inclusive design continues to carry the foundation of universal design concepts and centers around the user experience focused on social sustainability.

“A design that considers the full range of human diversity with respect to ability, language, culture, gender, age, and other forms of human difference.”

Dimensions of Inclusive Design

The Inclusive Design Research Centre (IDRC) or the research and development center at Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD) University established the 3 dimensions and definition of Inclusive Design:


Recognize diversity +


The process of design + the tools in the design are inclusive (development tools should become as accessible + usable as possible)


Intended to be a broader
beneficial impact

Principles of

Inclusive Design

United Kingdom’s Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) established 5 key principles of Inclusive Design as guidance in designing a place fit for use by everyone and enhance social sustainability:

Places people at the heart of the design process.

acknowledges diversity and difference.

offers choice where a single design solution cannot accommodate all users.

provides for flexibility in use.

provides buildings + environments that are convenient + enjoyable to use for everyone.