Accessible conferences: Why you should care!

Aerial view of a crowded conference scene where the session has finished and people are standing, sitting and walking about.How to make your conference accessible – and why you should care!  This Pulse article posted on Linked In by Nicholas Steenhout covers the basics. His personal experiences have made him actutely aware of how the little details count for so much. He covers websites, name badges, venue, registration desk, conference rooms, amphitheater, bathrooms, carpets, hallway, dining halls, presentation, cabaret style seating, interpreters, slide designs and font sizes, handouts, social events, and transportation. Good for a quick grab for the essentials – you never know who you might be missing out on and that means both speakers and delegates. 


UD Forum and Pecha Kucha Networking

Logo for the forum white background with purple textExciting addition to the Universal Design Forum – Networking Drinks at the Office of Design & Architecture, plus Pecha Kucha talks. This event is included in the Forum registration. If you can’t come to the Forum, why not join us for networking drinks and nibbles at 5:30pm. Tickets are just $15.00.

There is still time to register for the Forum. You can download the program and information about speakers and topics from the Forum website. Key speakers are: The Hon Kelly Vincent MLC, Martin Haese the Lord Mayor of Adelaide, Joe Manton, David Hobbs, Kaare Kronkene Snøhetta, Ro Coroneos, Jane Bringolf, Daniel Bennett, and Peter Schumacher. There will also be Table Top Discussions and a panel session. 

Kelly Vincent has dark red hair and is wearing black rimmed spectacles. She has a grey and white scarf around her neck and she is smiling with red lipstick



The Hon Kelly Vincent, MLC



Coles now has quiet shopping hour

overhead picture of the fresh food section of a supermarketIn line with UK Supermarkets, Coles is the next to introduce a quiet shopping hour for people who are sensitive to noise and hub-bub. The pilot project has been designed in partnership with Autism Spectrum Australia. Some of the features would also suit people with cognitive issues such as dementia – but perhaps not the low level lighting. But an hour of no PA announcements, aisles free from stock cages, and low level piped music could be enjoyed by many.  Parents with children with autism can be more assured of successfully walking out with their groceries – something a Melbourne mother said was a milestone for her.

Editor’s note: It makes me wonder how many people would actually prefer no piped music, a minimum of PA announcements (use a mobile device) and aisles without clutter.


Gold and Silver for Grocon!

Aerial view of the park with a helix shaped sculpture circling a multicoloured saucer shaped water feature. Blocks of apartments surround the park. Each block is a different colour - yellow, orange, red.Grocon has finished building the Parklands project which will be the athlete’s village for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games 2018. All the apartments are to the Livable Housing Design Gold Level and above, and the townhouses are to Livable Housing Design Silver Level. And Grocon says it cost no more to do it. Grocon has also factored in environmental considerations. This means the development is both socially and environmentally sustainable.  So time to get going and do it for all new dwellings in Australia! 

Photos courtesy Grocon are of the bathroom, kitchen and the lever door handle. You can see more pictures of the development site on the Grocon Parklands website including a video of a fly through and a time lapse video. All dwellings will be available for rent after the Games in 2019.  

Editor’s note: I have it on good authority from the registered assessor that the dwellings do in fact meet the LHA Guidelines, give or take a centimetre here or there.


Do we need another form of Braille?

The picture shows a book in landscape with large red icons of the Elia Frames system and a person's hand touching the raised icons.People who are born blind are introduced to Braille from an early age. But what if you become blind at a later age? Is Braille the most suitable system for accessing text, and even if it is, how easy is it to learn? This is a tricky area to navigate in terms of design and policy. However, someone has come up with a tactile system that is based on the alphabet that sighted people know and is easier to learn later in life. It has one an award for innovation. In the article, The Complicated Quest to Redesign Braille, readers are taken through the story and the rationale for the development. The developer claims the new tactile markers are easier and quicker to learn than Braille. Of course, there is no reason why both systems can’t co-exist – the universal solution. The point is also made that the digital world has changed much for people who are blind with products and services such as talking books and podcasts.

The article was found on the Fast Co.Design website.  


Destinations for All: Get ready

The photo was taken in the Flower Dome at Gardens by the Bay in Singapore. A woman in a red dress stands looking at plants and behind her is a man in a hat sitting in a wheelchair and moving along the path between the plants. The glass windows can be seen above.Brussels will be hosting the 2nd World Summit on Accessible Tourism next year. It will present the innovations and best practices for the development of the accessible tourism chain. Abstract submissions open November 2017 and close end of March 2018. The date of the summit is 1-2 October 2018.

You can read more about the first summit held in Montreal in 2014 where 360 participants from 31 countries shared their expertise and experiences. At the end of the summit, they adopted the declaration “A world for all”. Available in 10 languages, the declaration includes 40 concrete measures to implement the recommendations of the UNWTO for inclusive tourism. The declaration is a genuine action plan at the local, national and international levels, promoting the accessibility of tourist infrastructure, buildings and services.  Proceedings from the first summit are also available and worth a look.  


Make Way Day

An older woman in a powered wheelchair struggles to get past a bicycle chained to a pole. The front wheel of the bicycle is at a ninety degree angle to the path of travel. She is putting a red Make Way Day sticker on the wheel of the bicycle.Getting along a footpath isn’t always easy especially when some people act either illegally, or without thought for others. Make Way Day in Ireland is creating awareness of the common footpath obstructions that people with disability and pram pushers face every day. On Make Way Day volunteers put “Make Way Day” stickers on the obstacles in their path of travel. This brings attention to the issues for the offender as well as other footpath users. See the link for the examples and a video of obstacles that people have to deal with. There is also a Twitter feed for this.

Editor’s note: This looks like a great project for Australian councils to support by having the stickers printed for volunteers to use and also announcing a Make Way Day to bring attention to it.