Is it possible to be understood by everyone?
Is it possible to be understood by everyone? Is it necessary? We at Vilje Bionics will begin to investigate these questions together with Geelmuyden Kiese with funding from Design and Architecture Norway. Vilje Bionics was 1 of 18 companies that received funding for an inclusive design project from a total of 92 companies that applied for the grant.
What is inclusive design?
Inclusive design meets the needs of a multitude of people.
Inclusive design is a methodology of developing and ensuring that environments, products, services, and interfaces can be used by people of all ages, with varying levels of disability, in different situations and conditions.
Through the support scheme, Vilje Bionics has received funding to work with professional designers and communication experts from Geelmuyden Kiese to create a stronger and more inclusive brand that a larger group of people will understand.
The project - An inclusive brand
Vilje develops ABELarm, an assistive device for people with reduced functional ability in one or both arms. The impairment can be caused by, for example, a stroke. ABELarm will be a smart wearable solution for the entire arm, with electric motors assisting movement in the shoulder, elbow, wrist and hand.
Living with impaired functionality in the arms and hands makes everyday activities such as eating, drinking, or maintaining personal hygiene a challenge. Functional impairment often leads to reduced quality of life and social exclusion. This is a significant physical and mental strain for the user, relatives, and health personnel.
Many users must adapt to a new lifestyle when their everyday life changes. This means a meeting with hospitals, healthcare personnel and new assistive devices. For many, the new daily life can be filled with uncertainty, information overload from different sources and a reluctance to use "yet another aid". Clear, understandable, and inclusive communication is, therefore, valuable. To bring ABELarm to the market, a multitude of people must understand Vilje.
Through the insight phase of the project, the project group will interview users, customers, employees, and other stakeholders to uncover how Vilje Bionics can communicate the assistive device and its purpose to be understood by a range of people.
The project’s result will be the first thing people encounter when they are introduced to new companies – logo, colours, font, presentation, and graphic design. These brand elements for Vilje Bionics will be crafted by design and communication expertise from Geelmuyden Kiese.
Inclusive design is beneficial for more than just products.
Inclusive design is good business. Why? Because if more people can benefit from the service or product, more people can also buy the service or product. Vilje has an aid with global potential, complex purchasing processes and many stakeholders. Therefore, clear communication is critical.
Users must understand what it can do for them, politicians must understand the benefit to society, healthcare professionals must know the functionality, jurists must understand the benefit for users and friends and family must know the advantages the assistive device can give the user. These are just some of the people who must understand the Vilje Bionics brand and ABELarm. And they have a direct impact on the business. The more people that understand ABELarm and the company, the easier it will be to articulate the benefit to the user. That makes a big difference.
"The project has shown us the importance of inclusive design as a methodology. We have already greatly benefited from including more people previously excluded in our processes through the work. We at Vilje develop our assistive device with the user in focus, so it was natural to include customers, advisers and other stakeholders in the design and communications work. And to have the opportunity to work with and learn from the project group at Geelmuyden Kiese, the best in the business, is invaluable to us. The support from DOGA is a vital part of the commercial aspect" - Martin Bogstrand, CCO, Vilje Bionics.