Creating Inclusive Comfort for All: A Journey of Universal Design in Gradient’s All-Weather 120V Window Heat Pump, Part 1

Creating Inclusive Comfort for All: A Journey of Universal Design in Gradient’s All-Weather 120V Window Heat Pump, Part 1

Let’s explore Gradient’s newest design, the Gradient All-Weather 120V window heat pump, with key members of our Product team. Below you’ll read about the meticulous intention and visionary philosophy woven into our newest innovation.

Each interview in this series discloses a pivotal aspect of Gradient’s ethos: inclusivity. The All-Weather 120V window heat pump unit embodies this ethos by not only striving to meet users where they’re at, but also taking significant strides toward inclusivity in each unique environment with one goal in mind: Comfort for all. 

Exploring Universal Design

So, what’s universal design? 

To put it plainly, universal design is the intentional and thoughtful creation of products, spaces, or systems that prioritize accessibility and inclusivity for people in every facet of life. 

Universal design means designing with the understanding that different people interact with the world in different ways, which in turn means that individuals interact with different products in various ways. The aim with universal design is to make each product usable, understandable, and enjoyable for everyone. 

Now let’s explore how Gradient’s All-Weather 120V window heat pump is designed with all users in mind, with a focus, for example, on features that make it accessible to those who may not use smartphones or who have mobility challenges. Our goal is to ensure that everyone can enjoy the comfort and efficiency of our window heat pump, regardless of their familiarity with technology or physical abilities. This includes easy-to-use manual controls and features that enhance usability for everyone.. 

Our intention at Gradient is not to achieve perfection, but to make strides towards inclusivity in the build environment.

Here’s some insight on the concept of universal design from one of our UX/UI staff members:

“My understanding of universal design is that it aims to be inclusive of people of all sorts of abilities and disabilities, be they physical, cognitive, or otherwise. 

One thing that is important to recognize is that universal design is an ideal. Design is fundamentally about balancing constraints (weighing what you can offer, when you can’t offer everything/everywhere/always/all-at-once)... The process, the intention, of moving toward the ideal is an incredibly important part of creating a more perfect built environment in which to live, work and play.”

Philosophy of Design

When it comes to heat pumps, ‘good’ design is not just about aesthetics or functionality. The philosophy of design within the realm of universal design revolves around the core belief that products, environments, and systems should be created with the primary goal of inclusivity. 

This philosophy emphasizes that design should transcend barriers, while creating solutions that are inherently accessible, intuitive, and welcoming. Gradient seeks to bridge socio-economic divides by ensuring accessibility to all. The focus, especially with Gradient’s All-Weather 120V model, is to provide and create the most comfortable environment for people with the environment of the climate in mind. 

Design Challenges for Specific Environments

There are many challenges in designing window heat pumps and attempting to keep every user in mind; therefore, Gradient product designers focus on the opportunities to bring comfort to all. We aim to not only extend the warmth of welcome, but to also increase the possibilities for reduced financial burdens. This is especially true as it pertains to Gradient’s newest model, the All-Weather 120V window heat pump. 

User Feedback in Design

Our Product team incorporates user feedback in every design. Our designs are constantly evolving partly because of the user feedback we aim to receive on a regular basis. 

When asked about incorporating user feedback into Gradient’s All Weather 120V design, our Product team answered eagerly: 

“We’re not simply planning; we’re already incorporating the feedback of Gradient users into current design iterations. We learned a great deal from our first product (the Gradient Window Heat Pump), which has helped us to approach the topic of “smart” and “automatic” modes (for instance) with a degree of respectful, cautious humility…” 

We have much more to dive into as it pertains to Gradient’s product, design, and UX/UI under the lens of universal design. Stay tuned for Part 2, Creating Inclusive Comfort for All: A Journey of Universal Design in Gradient’s All-Weather 120V Window Heat Pump, continued. 

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