Applying UD to organisations

A graphic showing words related to organisations.Organisational design hasn’t received much attention from a UD perspective. Using a child care centre as a case study, Katherine Mowrer takes three views: sustainable development, universal design, and disability justice. As an academic paper, it includes philosophical discussions and theory. At the end there is a good checklist (quoted below) that any organisation could use to see if they are being inclusive. The title of the paper is Organization-Based Disability Access: A YMCA Childcare Center Case Study.

This section is adapted from Equal Access: Universal Design of Professional Organizations— A checklist for making professional organizations inclusive of everyone by Sheryl Burgstahler, Ph.D. Many of the questions require yes/no/maybe/unsure answers, though feel free to expand on your answer if need be.
“Universal design (UD) means that rather than designing for the average user, you design for people with differing native languages, genders, racial and ethnic backgrounds, abilities, and disabilities.”
Planning, Policies, and Evaluation
• Are people with disabilities, racial and ethnic minorities, men and women, young and old students, and other groups represented in the organization’s planning process?
• Do you have policies and procedures that ensure access to facilities, events, and
information resources for people with disabilities?
• Are disability-related access issues and other diversity issues addressed in program evaluation plans and instruments?
Information Resources
• Do pictures in your publications and website include people with diverse characteristics with respect to race, gender, age, and disability?
• In key publications, do you include a statement about your commitment to access and procedures for requesting disability related accommodations? (For example, you could include the following statement: “Our organization’s goal is to make materials and activities accessible to all participants. Please inform organization leaders of accessibility barriers you encounter and request accommodations that will make activities and information resources accessible to you.”)
• Are all printed publications available (immediately or in a timely manner) in alternate formats such as Braille, large print, and electronic text?
• Are key documents provided in language(s) other than English?
• Are printed materials in your facility or at an event within easy reach from a variety of heights and without furniture blocking access?
• Do electronic resources, including web pages, adhere to accessibility guidelines or standards adopted by your organization, funding source, or the federal government? Section 508 Standards for Accessible Electronic and Information Technology and Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) are most commonly used. For example, are text alternatives provided for graphic images on web pages? Can the content be accessed with a text only browser and by using the keyboard alone?
• Do you include a statement on your website affirming your commitment to accessible design? For example, you could include the following statement: “We strive to make our website accessible to everyone. We provide text descriptions of graphic images and photos. Video clips are captioned and audio-described. Suggestions for increasing the accessibility of these pages are welcome.”
• Do videos developed or used in your organization have captions? Audio descriptions? 
Physical Environments and Products
• Are there parking areas, pathways, and entrances to the building that are accessible from a seated position?
• Are all levels of the facility connected via an accessible route of travel?
• Are aisles kept wide and clear of obstructions for the safety of users who have mobility or visual impairments?
• Are wheelchair-accessible restrooms with well-marked signs available in or near the office?
• Is at least part of a service or counter desk at a height accessible from a seated position?
• Are there ample high-contrast, large-print directional signs to and throughout the facility, indicating accessible routes?
• Are telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD) available?
• Is adequate light available?
Staff and Volunteers
• Are all staff members and volunteers familiar with the availability and use of the Telecommunications Relay Service and alternate document formats?
• Do all staff members and volunteers know how to respond to requests for disability related accommodations, such as sign language interpreters?
• Are all staff members and volunteers aware of issues related to communicating with participants who have disabilities? Do staff deliver conference presentations and exhibits that are accessible to all participants?
• Are project staff, contractors, and volunteers in specific assignment areas (e.g., web page development, video creation) knowledgeable about accessibility requirements and considerations?
• Is an adjustable-height table available for each type of workstation to assist participants who use wheelchairs or are small or large in stature?
• Do you provide adequate work space for both left- and right-handed users?
• Is software to enlarge screen images and a large monitor available to assist people with low vision and learning disabilities?
• Do you provide a trackball to be used by someone who has difficulty controlling a mouse?
• Are procedures in place for a timely response to requests for assistive technology?