Design for Inclusion: Creating a New Marketplace -- Online Version

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Publication date: October 28, 2004

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Note: The views contained in this report do not necessarily represent those of the Administration, as this and all NCD documents are not subject to the A-19 Executive Branch review process.

Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise does not constitute or imply its endorsement by the National Council on Disability.

October 28, 2004

The President
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President:

On behalf of the National Council on Disability (NCD), I am submitting a report entitled, Design for Inclusion: Creating a New Marketplace. This report aims to educate designers and manufacturers about the way electronic and information technology (E&IT) intersects with the needs of individuals with disabilities, and how designing with access in mind can significantly increase the size of targeted markets for E&IT.

Designing with access in mind can be accomplished through universal design. Universal design is a process to ensure that electronic and information technology is inclusive, accessible, and usable by everyone, including people with disabilities. Incorporating universal design processes when developing E&IT is one solution to accommodating people with disabilities that also improves the usability of the products for the rest of the population. NCD's research attempts to understand the market for universally designed mainstream consumer products and services, document successful universal design development processes, understand consumer needs, understand universal design facilitators and barriers, and identify and address current issues in universal design.

This research falls at a time when understanding and incorporating universal design into the development process are most crucial. We are in the window of opportunity for implementing Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (as amended). Section 508 requires the Federal Government to purchase accessibly designed E&IT. If progress is not made quickly in improving the skills of government and industry employees on accessibility issues, the window will soon shut with little having been accomplished.

Progress must be made now, and the purpose of this report is to present the information and recommendations that will guide this progress.


Lex Frieden

(The same letter of transmittal was sent to the President Pro Tempore of the U.S. Senate and the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.)

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National Council on Disability Members and Staff

Lex Frieden, Chairperson, Texas
Patricia Pound, First Vice Chairperson, Texas
Glenn Anderson, Ph.D., Second Vice Chairperson, Arkansas
Milton Aponte, J.D., Florida
Robert R. Davila, Ph.D., New York
Barbara Gillcrist, New Mexico
Graham Hill, Virginia
Joel I. Kahn, Ph.D., Ohio
Young Woo Kang, Ph.D., Indiana
Kathleen Martinez, California
Carol Novak, Florida
Anne M. Rader, New York
Marco Rodriguez, California
David Wenzel, Pennsylvania
Linda Wetters, Ohio

Ethel D. Briggs, Executive Director
Jeffrey T. Rosen, General Counsel and Director of Policy
Mark S. Quigley, Director of Communications
Allan W. Holland, Chief Financial Officer
Julie Carroll, Attorney Advisor
Joan M. Durocher, Attorney Advisor
Martin Gould, Ed.D., Senior Research Specialist
Geraldine Drake Hawkins, Ph.D., Program Analyst
Pamela O'Leary, Interpreter
Brenda Bratton, Executive Assistant
Stacey S. Brown, Staff Assistant
Carla Nelson, Office Automation Clerk


This National Council on Disability report is dedicated to Ronald Mace, "a nationally and internationally recognized architect, product designer, and educator whose design philosophy challenged convention and provided a design foundation for a more usable world. He coined the term 'universal design' to describe the concept of designing all products and the built environment to be aesthetic and usable to the greatest extent possible by everyone, regardless of their age, ability, or status in life." (The Center for Universal Design)


The National Council on Disability (NCD) wishes to express its appreciation to W. Bradley Fain of Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI), who was the principal investigator for this project. Researchers in GTRI's Electronic Systems Laboratory performed the work documented in this report. NCD acknowledges the contributions of Steve Jacobs of the Ideal Group, who performed the market definition and research of this report. NCD also acknowledges the participation of the industry partners that supported the industry study portion of this research. The industry partners provided invaluable insight into the impact of Section 508 on business and the barriers and facilitators relating to the adoption of universal design principles. NCD also acknowledges the donation of equipment and services utilized during the user study portion of the research. The following companies provided products and services, at no cost to the project, for user testing: HP, Nokia, and SENCORE Electronic Test Equipment.
NCD would also like to acknowledge the efforts of Gerry Field, WGBH Boston, for providing a closed captioning test stream used in user testing.