An increasing number of policymakers and researchers have recognised the importance of social inclusion. In addition to implementing an inclusive society from the top down through changes in government policy, more people have advocated that such a society can also be achieved from the bottom up. That is, we can consider how to improve daily systems and objects to enhance social inclusion. Ordinary people, including those with special needs, can also exert their influence to make society more inclusive by participating more actively in societal change. From 2008 to 2010, the Public Design Lab in Hong Kong carried out a project to redesign international chess for the visually impaired. In addition to generating a more user-friendly design to improve the social and leisure life of blind people, the project was also expected to widen the scope of blind people’s communities, thereby motivating and enabling them to communicate more with other groups. This paper first identifies the difficulties blind people face in their daily lives due to their visual disability. Taking chess as an example, the paper discusses current designs that prevent blind people from enjoying the most popular game in the world. The paper also discusses the findings made and experience gained in a case study in which blind people participated in the whole design process to generate a better chess set that enhances social inclusion. Some future directions for applied research in universal design aimed at bringing about a more inclusive society are also identified.
|Keywords:||Social Inclusion, Universal Design, Blind People, Chess, Participation|
Professor, School of Design, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hunghom, Kowloon, Hong Kong
I find interesting this idea of enhancing social inclusion from the bottom up.Just what I fail to grasp however is the feasibility of this when the subject working towards inclusion intends to go against "resistance" of what is socially percieved as the "social norm" framed by culture and languages of dominance?