Jon Sanford is a well-known architect in the universal design community in the USA. He is the Director of the Center for Assistive Technology and Environmental Access and has published widely. His chapter, Design for All Users tackles wayfinding and explains that despite its potential, universal design has not been widely adopted as a strategy in promoting community wayfinding. The book, Community Wayfinding: Pathways to Understanding is published by Springer Link and individual chapters can be purchased.
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Abstract: Universal design is the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design. Whereas this strategy is typically applied to broadly enhance usability of design—including its safety, accessibility, and simplicity—universal design can also be applied in a more focused manner to facilitate specific aspects of usability, such as wayfinding. In this chapter, the author describes not only what universal design is, but also what it is not: specialized designs to compensate for functional limitations. The chapter makes the case that specialized design, as embodied by the technical specifications in the Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines, defines a rigid set of prescriptive rules of what to do to promote safety and accessibility for specific individuals; universal design, as articulated by a set of performance guidelines embodied in the principles of universal design, describes how to promote usability and inclusivity—including community wayfinding—for everyone. Despite its potential, universal design has not been widely adopted as a strategy in promoting community wayfinding. The chapter addresses directions in research, policy, and practice necessary to promote universal design implementation.