When embarking on any design project, it’s extremely important to factor in inclusive design and accessibility. In regards to my capstone project, where I will be creating a design book of the brand of my future bakery and floor plans for the physical space, I will be trying to incorporate inclusive design and accessibility in my designs. This starts with foreseeing possible exclusion points, or parts of the project that could exclude people with certain characteristics. As the Microsoft Inclusive Design Toolkit discusses, disabilities are mismatched human interactions. To combat the exclusion of someone with physical, mental, or cognitive differences, the human interactions must match the needs of the person.
One exclusion point that could arise from my project is for people who have visual impairments. They would be unable to experience my final product, as I intend to print the design book and have a physical copy. This would cause a mismatched human interaction, as there would be virtually no way for someone to experience the photo book.
One way to match the human interaction so that someone with a visual impairment could still experience my designs would be to also create an online version of the photo book. That way, someone could use a screen reader and alt text or captions to process the images. Using the inclusive design principle “solve for one, extend to many”, having an online version of my photo book would be extremely useful not just for those who have visual impairments, but those who have temporary or situational impairments that wouldn’t allow them to view the physical photo book. This would also allow me to show the design book to people who aren’t able to meet with me physically.
Space and Mobility
As I plan out the physical space of my future bakery, I want to try and make it as accessible as possible for a variety of different abilities. Creating a floor plan with no consideration to people’s differences in ability would be an exclusion point for how someone could experience my bakery.
I plan to create a floor plan that has ample space for someone with mobility challenges to efficiently navigate, including wide spaces between tables and the counter and large bathrooms that could accommodate a wheelchair or other assistive device for movement. I also want to include high contrast options for menus and signage, as that would allow people with different visual needs to be able to experience ordering in the bakery. Additionally, offering an online version of the menu that could be accessed through a smartphone would allow someone with visual impairments to have the menu items read to them through a screen reader. This design would then extend from one to many as it could allow someone to view the menu when not physically in the bakery, or if they had trouble seeing the physical menu.
Maintaining an accessible business extends far beyond having enough room in the space for someone using a wheelchair to navigate. One good example of a clear accessibility policy for a bakery is the policy and procedures of Anna Mae’s Bakery and Restaurant, which details the principles and practice tips for people with different disabilities that the bakery follows. When I run my business in the future, I will look to examples such as this one to guide the accessibility and inclusive procedures I have in my bakery.
Distribution of Project
As the final product of my project will be a design book that details the branding of my future bakery, I will use this as a resource in my life when starting my business. In the future, I would spread the word about my project to those who I want to see the design book, such as potential business partners or investors. Having both a physical copy and online copy will be extremely valuable, because I can show a physical copy to whomever I meet with, but I will also be able to send out the digital version to people who are unable to experience the design physically or people who need to access it from afar.