Finding ways to explain universal design can be difficult when people fall into false assumptions such as it’s “one-size-fits-all”, or it’s “all about people with disability”, and of course, “it costs too much”. Hence three Brazilians have come up with Interactive Universal Design Kiosks to explain social inclusion in architectural design. The kiosk exhibition structure is based on two semi-circles. The visitor follows a carpeted path and is gradually exposed to the concepts related to the principles of universal design. The kiosk setting invites people to interact with information that uses complementary multimedia (printed text, graphic and tactile) and hypermedia (sounds, images and tactile textures and rotating boxes) that visitors select at their own pace.
This is a simple idea and could be developed by any architectural firm or studio to both display their understanding of UD and to pass this on to others, particularly their current and prospective clients. Local Government authorities could create something similar for their foyers. A great way to communicate the UD message – as a concept rather than a particular type of design.
The article, Interactive Universal Design Kiosks: Explanations About Social Inclusion Features in Architectural Design, is by Marcelo Pinto Guimarães, Angélica Fátima Baldin Picceli, and Paulo Roberto Sabino. Their diagram above helps explain the ideas.
The Co-Founder and Director of the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design, Jeremy Myerson, is asked questions about inclusive design and how it can be achieved in this article from Metropolis Magazine. He stresses that it is a shift in design thinking and the way designers are taught as well as moving away from a legislative approach. In the article’s concluding paragraph Myerson says:
“The bigger challenge is adapting to a more democratic, participatory approach, rather than being the top-down experts. Industrial designers have taken to it extremely well, but architects are struggling. There was a fantastic project by students at the Royal College of Art who rethought the little figures on architectural models. So there was the pregnant mom with the cigarettes, the teenage mother, the drunk, the violent football hooligan—all these social outcasts. They were trying to make architects think about real people in real social scenarios. That’s what inclusive design is about. It’s not just including people in the built environment or the use of products, it’s including people in the process.”
The Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design at London’s Royal College of Art is a major research centre for inclusive design focusing on: Age and Ability, Health Care, and Work and city. In this magazine article Jeremy Myerson responds to the interviewer’s questions:
- How far have we come
- Are we finally moving away from a legislation-based model?
- What are some of the tools you’ve used to make inclusive design more participatory?
- What else has changed in how we think about accessibility
- How should we be addressing cognitive disabilities?
- How much can we expect industry to take on in terms of inclusive design?
- How does it translate to public policy and the urban realm – the things that are not in the hands of corporations?
- If we had to think of a new disability discrimination act, what would be some of the key considerations?
The Seven Principles of Universal Design (NCSU, 1997) are well known in the universal design fraternity and have been used as a baseline for designing a range of goods, services and policies across the world. The IDeA Center at the University at Buffalo has taken these principles and expanded them to focus on social participation and health. Complementing the Principles of Universal Design, the Goals of Universal Design© define the outcomes of UD practice in ways that can be measured and applied to all design domains within the constraints of existing resources. Briefly, the Goals are:
- Body Fit
- Social integration
- Cultural appropriateness
The IDeA website adds that “they encompass functional, social, and emotional dimensions. Moreover, each goal is supported by an interdisciplinary knowledge base (e.g., anthropometrics, biomechanics, perception, cognition, safety, health promotion, social interaction). Thus, the Goals can be used effectively as a framework for both knowledge discovery and knowledge translation for practice. Moreover, the Goals can help to tie policy embodied in disability rights laws to UD and provide a basis for improving regulatory activities by adoption of an outcomes-based approach.”
Ed Steinfeld writes more on universal design generally and the eight goals, in an article published in Modern Health Talk in 2014 as a lead up to the publication of his book written with Jordana Maisel, Universal Design: Creating Inclusive Environments.
The goals were devised by Steinfeld and Maisel, 2012 ©