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GDI Hub celebrate IDPD 2021: "Inclusive design as essential goods"

An East Asian lady looking towards the camera, wearing dark glasses with long brown hair

Ching-Shiuan Jiang

Inclusive Design Network Member

International Day of Persons With Disabilities

Today on the 3rd December is "International Day of Persons With Disabilities" (IDPD). The annual day, proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly, serves to promote the rights of disabled people in all areas of life and well-being and increase global awareness about the key issues facing disabled people around the world.The 2021 theme is “Leadership and participation of persons with disabilities toward an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-COVID-19 world".

To mark this important date GDI Hub are celebrating by amplifying the voices of disabled people through a series of blogs.

Every person brings a unique perspective, an expert in their own experience. Each story, each voice, is an opportunity to change the narrative on disability, contributing to a collective call to action to make disability rights a reality.

Happy #IDPD 2021


Ching-Shiuan JIANG is a member of the Inclusive Design Network and a Founder of Extrodinary Goods:

Inclusive Design as Essential Goods

I believe inclusive design products are essential goods for an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-COVID world we’re building towards.

"It was summer 2020, several months into covid, when I started to look for a tricycle - a bike with an added wheel. Its extra stability can benefit people such as older people, parents carrying children, and people like me. I gave up riding a bike when my ankle was severely injured a decade ago, which put me in a wheelchair and crutches for years, and led to other invisible disabilities after.

This was not the first time I came across inclusive design. I looked for it in shoes, chairs, cars, mostly in vain, but this time the freedom it symbolised was too loud to give in. I called all the bike shops in my city, but found only one manufacturer producing a pricey model. So I turned to online search and asked around, and eventually found two other producers in France and one in the UK. Could someone have helped in this tedious process, I wondered, for example by gathering inclusive design products around the world, and sharing that information on a global platform, so people can easily find and get them?

This is what prompted me to start an e-commerce project, with the goal to build a fully accessible platform featuring inclusive products. The scale of the problem we are looking at, for 15% of the world population living with disabilities, is that 58-80% could feel that products do not meet their needs; and even if we turn to online channels, which is almost essential in today’s world, 94% of the largest e-commerce sites have accessibility issues. Our own research also found that consumers with disabilities would consider increasing their purchase up to 34.5% for an inclusive e-commerce platform.

And the more I work on it, the more I’ve learned what product information flows can do - not only can it widen the breadth of people’s access, but also accelerate the pace of innovation. While inclusive innovation is rising around the world, the fragmented information usually means entrepreneurs need to reinvent the wheels. An example is the use of visible mouth face masks that help people with hearing impairment to lip read. The idea emerged in Indonesia and Belgium in May 2020, but was only trialed in the US in September, and in Taiwan almost a year after. This is particularly crucial under the covid context.

My entrepreneurial journey is still ongoing, but I believe inclusive design products are essential goods for an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-COVID world we’re building towards."

Views expressed in this blog, and references used, belong to the author and do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the Global Disability Innovation Hub and its staff.