Inclusive Design, which aims to make products easier for consumers to use, is becoming increasingly relevant with an ageing global population. In terms of packaging, it might mean ensuring that a box is easy to hold and use by having a more graspable and rigid surface, or making the text on a box easier to read by using a less glossy surface.
Stora Enso’s Packaging and Paper divisions have been part of an Inclusive Design Consortium led by the Centre for Business Innovation in the UK, together with the University of Cambridge and other private sector members since 2012.
“The consortium provides valuable engagement with big brand owners on Inclusive Design and it is enabling us to enhance the consumer usability of our packaging solutions and further improve our products,” says Duncan Mayes, VP Group R&D & Technology, Stora Enso.
Mike Bradley, Senior Research Associate at the University of Cambridge, believes that Inclusive Design can be a differentiator. “Inclusive Design can guide the development of products that offer a better experience for all consumers, not just the less able, and can even differentiate Stora Enso’s products by providing end-user advantages.”
The consortium has developed a unique Exclusion Calculator, which estimates the proportion of a population that may have difficulty using a particular product. “We are currently enhancing the calculator and tailoring it to specific industry needs, such as enhancing the usability of packaging solutions,” says Rob Morland, Director of the Inclusive Design Consortium.
Stora Enso has a competitive advantage as an early adopter of Inclusive Design. There is already an ISO standard that puts demands on packaging manufacturers, but what does the future hold? Bradley believes that “Inclusive Design will become the norm, whereby if a design is not inclusive, it will not be considered good design.”