A critical look at the Exclusive Design Principles

Last week I had a good critical look at the material I use for my Exclusive Design Challenges together with my colleagues Fransiska Groenland and Albert de Klein. We took a look at the exclusive design principles.

These exclusive principles were created by inverting the inclusive design principles.[1] Fransiska and Albert wondered why the exclusive principles are phrased the way they are, and we wondered if a few of these principles can be combined.

Value vs Nonsense

Albert had an issue with a few of the inversions I made. For instance, he argued that inverting Add value should result in Remove value. Instead I decided to turn it into Add nonsense, which sounded a bit arbitrary to him. What I mean by this is that on top of adding value — which sounds almost too obvious to use as a principle — there should be room for emotion, for fun, for joy, for some lightness: things that are harder to measure in a purely economical way. Certain designers, like Don Norman[2] explain that adding emotion to your design is the same as adding value. With that definition this wouldn’t really be an inversion. But if you look closely at the description provided in the original inclusive principle the focus there is very much on technical efficiency.

Why seven principles?

Fransiska wondered if it’s really necessary to have seven separate principles. Would it be possible to combine a few of these? She argued that the main points are

This is definitely something I am considering. I think it should be possible to combine the points that focus on the fact that were designing for one person into one point. I’m not entirely sure if the point about taking control, which is about the fact that you as a designer are an expert, can be left out, or be combined with another principle. Maybe it’s part of the be innovative principle?

If you have any thoughts on this, please feel free to let me know in the comments section.


  1. Henny Swan, Ian Pouncey et al, Inclusive Design Principles, http://inclusivedesignprinciples.org/, A Pacielo Group Project, 2017  ↩

  2. Donald A. Norman, Emotional Design, why we love (or hate) everyday things, Basic Books, Paperback edition, 2005  ↩

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