At Wunderman Thompson, we believe that inclusive design is better design.

One in five people worldwide has a disability that creates challenges for dexterity, cognition or sensory issues, and according to the World Health Organization, this translates to more than one billion people worldwide. Collectively, this group represents an annual disposable income of $8 trillion globally. People with disabilities and neurological differences expect brands to communicate with them in ways that are relevant, engaging and reflect their role in our modern culture.

As marketing leaders, we must look beyond the conventional and see the world differently. So, we’ve put inclusive thinking at the heart of our business; not just because it is the right thing to do but because it drives growth for our clients.

At Wunderman Thompson, a WPP company, we are committed to actively building a diverse, equitable and inclusive workplace where everyone feels welcomed, valued and heard, and is treated with dignity and respect. We believe that this commitment inspires growth and delivers equitable outcomes for everyone as well as the clients and communities we serve.

This is how we raise the creative bar, gain a competitive advantage and create a more inclusive world for all.

Our Inclusive Experience Practice

Wunderman Thompson is the first agency to build an Inclusive Experience Practice. It is based on the three core principles of inclusive design: recognizing exclusion, learning from diversity, and solving for one and extending to many.

Recognize exclusion. Exclusion occurs when we use our own biases to solve problems. Inclusion requires us to consider the widest possible set of capabilities of people who might be using a product or service.

Learn from diversity. In designing for people with disabilities, we need to recognize that a key feature of their daily lives is adaption. As a result, we do not design for limitations but rather for people who can adapt to new situations. That way we can unlock the true potential of the design and the people it is intended to serve.

Solve for one, extend to many. Inclusive design focuses on what’s universally important to all humans. If you create a solution that works well for someone who cannot hear, you might be surprised to find out that it also increases productivity and improves the lives of people who can. A simple example might be a self-driving car. A self-driving car would enable a blind person to increase her mobility, but it would also likely be safer and more convenient for every human.

Raising the Inclusive Bar

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As part of our ongoing commitment, Wunderman Thompson partnered with Microsoft to launch the Accessibility & Inclusivity Agency Awareness Forum to provide increased accessibility to clients’ messaging (Campaigns, Web, Design, UX, Video, Events, Product Design, Creative, etc.), while strengthening our collective foundations for inclusive work cultures.

The Accessibility & Inclusivity Agency Awareness Forum will provide a platform for ongoing discussion and thought leadership so that we may share our knowledge —'accessibility in action' best practices and insights — and learn together as partners.

Our partnership is centered around the work created for clients and bringing heightened awareness to Microsoft’s industry leading commitment to Accessibility and their digital-inclusion features of Microsoft 365.

Recently, Microsoft revealed their five-year plan to bridge the 'Disability Divide' that includes everything from its products through to skills development and hiring practices. Wunderman Thompson actively raises global awareness via the panels and events around accessibility with Microsoft. Learn how their collaboration aims to educate and redefine expectations in the Raising Accessibility Awareness for Everyone episode of WT Talks.

Leading by Example

We are also pleased to announce that all Wunderman Thompson employees across our global network will take the Microsoft Accessibility Fundamentals training and become AiA badged.

This is an important step forward that will ensure that everyone at Wunderman Thompson has the right kind of knowledge and can implement the necessary standards for all clients.

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Our Inclusive Design Work

Inclusive design is Wunderman Thompson’s design methodology of choice because we believe it leads to growth for brands. We are on a journey to operationalizing this throughout the agency, which includes starting discussions on this topic with our clients and providing learning opportunities for our employees. In addition, we partner with inclusively to increase the number of people with disabilities at Wunderman Thompson.

Here is a selection of Wunderman Thompson inclusive-design work:

Degree Inclusive

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One in four Americans has a disability, yet products and experiences are still not designed with this community in mind. Degree Inclusive, the world’s first inclusive deodorant built with people with visual impairment and upper extremity impairment, was co-created by an inclusive team of design experts from Wunderman Thompson and SOUR, including occupational therapists, engineers, consultants and people living with disabilities across the globe.

The fact that Wunderman Thompson together with the Degree team and others said this is a basic human right to smell good and we hadn’t thought about it. So it’s not just about gaming or furniture, this is a basic human right. That’s the kind of thing that inspires me.

Rob Reilly

Global Chief Creative Officer, WPP

Tommy Hilfiger Tommy Adaptive

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Wunderman Thompson helped Tommy Hilfiger launch its new and innovative disability-friendly clothing line, Tommy Adaptive. The line includes items of fashion with adjustable hems, one-handed zippers, Velcro and magnetic buttons, easy-open necklines and much more. To reflect its inclusive nature, we partnered with visually impaired director James Rath and integrated automated closed and audio description to the spot. The campaign garnered 5.6 million views on YouTube between October 2018 and March 2019.

This Is My Color

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Avon stepped up its fight against racism with ‘This Is My Color’ – a campaign concept and study with the goal of understanding the diversity of black skin hues and tones in Brazil.

The creation of the palette was a collaborative work between makeup artist Daniele da Mata, one of the leading experts in Black skin in Brazil, and the American scientist Candice DeLeo Novack, Head of Eye and Face Product Development and Technical Product Design at Avon, who synthesized in a single palette the widest range possible of hues and tones of Black skin in Brazil, giving authenticity to each product.

The Unbias Button

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The way language is used can affect an outcome enormously and increase or limit potential. For example, a job title that’s inherently masculine, like fireman, mailman, salesman or cameraman, might discourage women from applying, depriving that industry of an enormous pool of potential talent. International Women’s Day was the right time to address this.

Together with ElaN Languages, we tackled this inherent gender bias by updating their online translation tool with a new feature: The Unbias Button. Traditional gender-biased job titles are automatically updated with an unbiased alternative, hopefully contributing to a level playing field where everyone has the same opportunities and every industry has access to all the world’s talent.

Inclusive Innovation Lab

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Wunderman Thompson and Microsoft’s IDx Lab have created the Inclusive Innovation Lab, which functions as a collaborative group of multidisciplinary makers fueled by the desire to create a more inclusive and innovative future. Our award-winning methodology uses a human-centered approach to innovation that draws on the full range of human diversity, the future of technology and the requirements for business success. Unilever is client one.

A History of Inclusive Design

Inclusive design has long been synonymous with innovation. Many inventions that we all use today are the direct or indirect result of inclusive design, including:

  • Telephone
  • Typewriter
  • Touchscreen
  • Email keyboards
  • Flexible straws
  • Speech-to-text
  • Double drawer dishwashers (no, really)
  • Curb cuts
  • Eye-tracking
  • Automatic doors
  • Audiobooks
  • Close captioning

Inclusive Experience Practice Report

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We have also published the Inclusive Experience Practice: Designing for Everyone report. This report makes the case that the brands designing products and services, and marketing for and with people of all abilities leads to more innovative designs and competitive advantage.

Download the Report Here

If you have any questions about inclusivity and its impact on organizations and your business, feel free to reach out to us.

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