Human-centered design has become a priority across industries, from architecture to software. Because the days of catering to the masses are gone. Instead, it has become vitally important for companies to tailor products and services to the needs of the individual. Using human-centered design, companies can not only impact consumers’ lives for the better, but provide them with true, intrinsic value.

 

Fashion is one surprising industry at the forefront of this trend. A USA Today report mapped out the brands chasing this trend, and why this is a growing category. 1 in 4 U.S. adults have a disability including mobility, cognition, hearing, vision, independent living and self care. Many of them have difficulties with daily living activities such as dressing. With adaptive clothing, apparel companies are providing customers with products that address their previously-unconsidered needs. And as we continue towards a global age wave — more individuals will rely on products who are addressing these adaptive design principles.

 

For example, Target created wheelchair-friendly high-rise pants with elastic waistbands, and tagless shirts for customers with sensory issues. Tommy Hilfiger introduced shirts with magnetic buttons, one-handed zippers and easy openings. And Zappos made diabetes-friendly shoes, pull-on pants and post-surgical wear. Adaptive clothing is all about respecting consumers, and meeting them where they are in their lives.

 

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From designing for the ‘what’ to designing for the ‘who’

It’s beneficial to step back and consider the way customers actually use your products or services, and the value it provides them. By reframing the way you think of consumers — as people first, navigating the world — you can begin to assess your organization’s commitment to adaptability and accessibility. Just because a market is small, doesn’t mean it’s not worth considering and customizing for.

 

Why utilize human-centered design?

By hyper-focusing on the needs of customers, your business can deliver a superior and optimized product offering. This commitment can also lead to improved brand reputation, increased sales and lead generation. And of course, it’s simply the right thing to do. If you design your business’ offerings for these specific insights, you can transform your entire mindset from overlooking a market to becoming its champion.


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