Six groups have been shortlisted for the DBA Design Challenge Award, which aims to advance ideas and best practice in socially inclusive design.
Shortlisted work includes Factory Design’s ergonomic saucepan (pictured); a visual language to facilitate non-verbal communication in noisy environments by Lewis Moberly; digital wayfinding by Roundel; Seachange’s communication system for chronic illnesses and their medicines; an inclusive mobile phone by Seymour Powell; and The Team’s mobile alert system.
The award is run in conjunction with the Helen Hamlyn Research Centre. According to research fellow Julia Cassim, the projects aim to deliver ‘mainstream design with additional functionality’.
‘We asked groups to respond to the needs of younger [disabled] people who use and need these products, but are technologically literate and mainstream in their aesthetic requirements,’ she explains.
Shortlisted teams were given the opportunity to refine their concepts in user forums and learn from ‘the creative strategies disabled people adopt to overcome poor design’, Cassim adds.
A theme of the projects is the need for work to ‘include as many people as possible’, in order to ensure the product is commercially viable.
Seymour Powell associate director Jim Dawton says the group is creating a mobile phone with broad appeal. ‘We’re aiming to simplify everything and [the end product] will appeal not just to users with a disability,’ he says.
Factory Design creative director Adrian Berry agrees. ‘We felt it was important to look at ubiquitous everyday stuff. People don’t appreciate the difficulties everybody experiences using [ordinary objects].’
Roundel is creating ‘a set of protocols that establishes how information is best presented in the digital medium’ for all users, but also takes into account the needs of the visually impaired, according to Roundel director Tony Howard.
Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on 9 December.