Exploring Inclusivity in Patient-Centered Healthcare | Senior Design Studio
As we’re navigating through what makes a product or design universal, accessible, or inclusive, we looked at real world examples that do a effective job at this. Something I notice was how recent this idea is being normalized. There are few companies/designers that have successful models although larger organizations like Uber, Spotify, etc are taking initiatives to do better in this area. The first example I picked was one I stumbled on about 2 years ago on AIGA’s websites. A young designer, Kosuke Takahashi developed a typeface that’s applicable to both people who are visually impaired/both and those who aren’t. He used the existing braille grid and Helvetica Neue as a references, and crafted simple, geometric lettering as a solution.
Takahashi did a beautiful job in finding an accommodating hybrid between the two groups to make something fairly universal. The typeface has clear legibility and a style that could work in many different environments. But, the creative way in which he did it also allows Braille Neue to be laid on top of existing braille too. I think that was the biggest takeaway when exploring his project. He found something that’s both inclusive and accessible. Working with an already existing system might create more restrictions in the process but, in this case, will broadens out the community you’re developing it for. As I’m continuing to think through an idea for the UMPC Mercy building, it made me realize that for both the clients and consumers satisfaction, there could be a solution that derives off of things they already have. Does UMPC generally have an existing system for me to work with so the current patients have something relatable to consume? Will it be more effective to disregard, so that the product could possibly generate more attention? These are question I have to be constantly thinking about when developing my project and something Takahashi innovatively answered.
The other case study dealt with this problem in a completely different way. Designer Hans Jorgen Winberg developed an app that is a service to visual impaired/blind people. This is more directed as a tools specifically for the visually impaired, but is a product that simplify their lives in a major way. It’s open to the community to be a potential volunteer on call. Once someone needs assistance, you’ll be connected to a volunteer over video chat to talk out and visualize the situation.
Wiberg spent a lot of time considering the interface and how it should be displayed. Because the average person who’s visually impaired won’t be able to navigate a phone screen easily, he decided to make the app as stripped down as possible. The opening page only has two button as actions, and the one for someone visually impaired is noticeably larger. From there, you can use your video to explain your situation and dictate a message through your voice. After, looking at the onboarding of this application, I began to realize the importance of simplicity and necessity. Thinking back to past apps I’ve designed, I spent the most time on the layout and navigation of the interface. And although you work for an easy user experience, sometimes their are steps you take that enhance one aspect of the interface but digress the experience or way-finding. The size of a font or button need just as much attention in this scenario and it shows in the final product. A classmate he brought up the fact that we probably should be reading at that size regardless. It shows that when you’re working in accomplish inclusivity and universal design, you have to change your natural path in design research/study.
The example I gave that explains a product in design history that fails to be completely inclusive is the one that interests me the most. In the thriving digital age, Digital Streaming Platforms (DSPs) have some of the biggest impact. Music and the way we listen to it has been completely changed from the past 25 years. However, the music industry still puts a heavy restriction on how much artists get for their songs, which is what artist, JAY-Z is slowly accomplishing. His platform Tidal is very similar to services like Spotify, but pride themselves on give artists more promotional and financial freedom through this streaming app. JAY-Z took the opportunity to help out a group of people that historically stripped of a lot of publishing rights, streams, etc.
But although he’s giving justifiable benefits to artists through many avenue, it also excludes a large groups in the process as well. For instance, there’s an option for HI-FI quality that gives you a song the way artists want you to listen to it, but is about $10 more which disregards the population that can not afford that. Also, from a design perspective, most DSP’s interfaces are not user friendly for those you didn’t grow up in the digital streaming era. It’s a much different process then just having the physical CD or vinyl and the idea of having every song at your disposal could come off overwhelming. Tidal used a lot of Spotify’s interface as a model, but could’ve seen the opportunity in finding a easier way to navigate the music world for the older generation to tag onto. Looking at this case study, I can see Tidal trying to be ahead of the curve while also referencing popular examples. However, sometimes when you’re trying to include some, you exclude other and when you try and be on the cutting edge of technology, you lose some people in the process. As I develop this project, I need to constantly be drawing out mess amps for who my product is applicable for so that I don’t leave a demographic accidentally in the dark. If you go to far one way, you might not every get a chance to see what it’s like in other directions.