Inclusive design toolkit — disability simulators

Competency Group: Universal Design

Type: Design

Description: The Inclusive Design Toolkit offers a resources to help people understand how various limitations can impact daily life. Free software tools simulate common vision and hearing impairments. This allows users compare the experiences of people with and without the limitations. For example, the hearing simulator allows the user to select a level of hearing loss from mild to severe, and experience that level of impairment in simulated situations, such as in a conversation, in a restaurant, or in a subway station. Similarly, the vision simulator includes conditions such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, and cataracts. For each condition, users can select the level of impairment from mild to severe. Other resources are available for a fee, including simulation gloves that limit hand movement, and glasses that can be used to gain a real-world experience of the effects of vision loss. 

Citation for Description: University of Cambridge. (2011). Inclusive Design Toolkit. Retrieved from

Advantages: These tools can be used throughout the design process in order to maximize the size of a device or service's target market. 

Limitations: May be no change in design after lengthy exploration.

Target Audience: Engineering and R&D and Top management

Relevant to Universal Design: Yes

Stages and Steps: 2.2, 4.2, 4.12, 5.2

Free Resource:  University of Cambridge. (2011). Design Process Checklist. Retrieved from:

Purchase Resource: University of Cambridge. (2011). Inclusive Design Toolkit — Website with some free resources for achieving inclusive design. Retrieved from