The Engineering Design Centre at the University of Cambridge (UK) has launched a new quarterly bulletin to complement the content of their Inclusive Design Toolkit. The Toolkit was originally devised for product manufacturers to better understand who they include and exclude from their designs. While the focus is on industrial design, there are lessons for designers across all disciplines. For example, the work on grasping hot cups can be applied to handles, hand held devices, touch screens, and taps, and the SEE-IT tool applies to every organisation with a webpage. This first issuehas six items with links to appropriate pages:
SEE-IT Tool for assessing visual exclusion for mobile friendly websites
The passenger experience at Heathrow Airport
Making e-commerce images fit for purpose – the Unilever experience
Barclays Bank simulation equipment to help better design
Opening food packaging
3D prototyping workshop from Include 2105with a focus on gripping and holding hot drink cups
This article from Japan came about from observations during a disaster situation – in this case the 2011 Tsunami. This short paper outlines research into colours and colour combinations that are easily seen and interpreted quickly by people who have one of the colour blindness conditions.
The results of this study and other colour studies are now reflected in the Japanese standards for the paint, printing and design industries. The colour scheme-set contains 20 colours and is divided into groups depending on whether things are small scale or large scale. Bright pink turned out to be a colour for large signage, so that might explain all the bright pink signs going up around the City of Sydney (or was it just a coincidence?) For more on the colours go to the Open Journal of Social Science and download the five page article, “Color Barrier Free Displays in Disaster Situations”.
This excellent slideshow from Thailand has some great ideas for easy to use packaging using the seven principles of universal design. In practical terms, it also shows how to apply the principles to design thinking across the seven principles. Very instructive and educational, particularly for people new to the concept.
Packaged food and beverages are ubiquitous in food and drink provision in all aspects of life, including hospitals. Many people are frustrated by packaging and have issues opening it. 48% of inpatients in NSW were over the age of 65 years, while for the same time, they represented 14% of the total population. This paper outlines a series of 3 studies undertaken with well people aged 65 years and over in NSW examining their interaction with routine hospital food and beverage items. Both quantitative (strength, dexterity, time and number of attempts to open the pack; nutritional status and intake) and qualitative (ratings of ‘openability’) data were collected. The most ‘problematic’ items were – tetra packs, cheese portions, boxed cereals, fruit cups and water bottles. Most packs required greater dexterity than strength and some packs could not be opened at all (for example, 39% of subjects could not open the cheese portion in study 1).
The overarching message from this series of 3 studies is the need for manufacturers to design products incorporating the principles of both universal (Follette et al, 1998; Farage et al, 2012) and transgenerational (Pirkl, 1991) design in order to cater for the global rapidly ageing population and improve pack ‘openability’. Packaging has an important role to play in food provision and if well designed, assist older people remain independent and well nourished.
Abstract: Universal design (UD) is a strategy for designing societal and individual living environments. We outline how its generic guidelines need more concretization to be applicable to product development processes. Although the value of UD is widely known, its potentials are often still left unused. This paper’s contribution is to bring UD theory into product development practice by extending the processes that are currently used. Therefore, an appropriate application scenario in mobility and daily needs is proposed. It is proven that this area affects a wide range of users with different requirements and thus has great value for UD. By using the example of a shopping aid, several approaches in creativity can be used in the early phases of product design. Two exemplary methodologies are presented to demonstrate UD integration. We outline that research success can be met in multiple ways. Among other things, we show the integration of UD into systematic product design and the controllability of its value in an ex-ante and accompanying way. Within this process, the holistic view of users will be extendable, e.g. taking sociological, psychological or cultural aspects into account.
“Accessible, adaptable, transgenerational, and universal design Universal design is always accessible, but because it integrates accessibility from the beginning of the design process, it is less likely to be noticeable. Universal design sometimes employs adaptable strategies for achieving customization, but it is best when all choices are presented equally. Some universal design is transgenerational, but the approach is inclusive of more than just age-related disabilities. Universal design is sometimes adaptable and sometimes transgenerational but always accessible. Universal design, adaptable design, and transgenerational design are all subsets of accessible design. Sometimes a design can be considered to be two of these subsets, and some designs are all three. Not all accessible design is universal. Universal design is the most inclusive and least stigmatizing of the three types of accessible design because it addresses all types of human variation and accessibility is integrated into design solutions.”
The conclusion of the paper is, “The students in all schools of architecture, interior design, landscape architecture and urban design should become aware of the values, concepts and philosophy of universal design at every level of their education program, beginning from the early stages of design education to the graduate and also post-graduate level. Use techniques to create the understanding and demand of Universal Design concepts by educating the politicians of the need to create environments that encourage independence.”
This YouTube video shows a wonderful new invention. It is a glove that “talks”. While it is specialised design and not universal design, it reminds us how deaf blind people can extend their ability to participate in everyday activities if and when the rest of the world is designed to include everyone. The video has closed captioning in English.
The National Library Board of Singapore is embracing new ways of reading, learning and creating knowledge. Their aim in revamping their libraries is to be inclusive of learning styles as well as being physically accessible. The title of the article is, Every Reader a Library, Every Library its Reader: Designing Responsive Libraries for Our Communities.
A short paper by Kalevi Rantanen shows how to combine the principles of universal design and design-for-all with the 40 principles of TRIZ. It gives another perspective on how to apply the principles of universal design in a problem solving context.
The title of the paper is, “Homes for Strong Families, Children, Seniors and All Others. How Universal Design, Design for All and Forty Principles of TRIZ Enforce Each Other”.
The 40 Principles of TRIZ are a list of simple, and easy to learn rules for solving technical and non-technical problems quickly and simply. Studying these existing solutions can inspire people to solve new problems and imagine innovative solutions. They show how and where others have successfully eliminated contradictions and take us to the proven, powerful recorded solutions contained in the patent database. These 40 Inventive Principles may be used to help solve both technical and non-technical problems.
The Inclusive Design Toolkit. This page link takes you to the section on user capabilities that need to be considered when designing products. It shows how many potential purchasers are left out by not considering universal design principles. Good information is available on other parts of the website as well.
The Toolkit was devised by the Engineering Design Centre at the University of Cambridge (UK) – hence the use of “inclusive” and not “universal” design.