The development of digital technology has made made possible many things that were impossible. A cliché to some, but for many people with disability it has real meaning. What is a convenience for some becomes independence for others. The IBM blog features what looks like an extended advertisement for Apple iPhones, but a closer look at Innovating for people with disabilities: Why companies should invest in universal design, discusses how the Internet of Things has changed the world and is now designing for diversity. Tracey Lindeman says that embracing the principles of universal design makes financial sense in the log run as retrofitting can be costly. It may also uncover unintended client bases – a device for people with low vision can help a fire fighter in a smoke filled building. The article contains some nice videos explaining how technology has opened up life and created new opportunities to participate and to retain dignity and independence. Nicely written piece.
ArchitectureAU e-magazine features an article on a cooperative housing development in Perth. This particular apartment complex design shows how modular design of various sizes can be stacked in different ways for variations on a theme. The University of Western Australia and WA LandCorp were part of the collaboration. The article talks of a “malleable concept” that “flexes according to individual needs”. However, they are likely talking about size rather than designing for the lifespan and ageing in place. Other aspects of liveability have been considered with communal facilities included in the development. Energy efficiency also gets the tick of approval.
Editor’s note: With the trend to modular design, will this add more barriers to incorporating other liveability features such as those in the Livable Housing Design Guidelines?
The envato blog features an article that begins, “Accessibility… Wait! Don’t stop reading! This isn’t a preachy article about how you should design your digital platforms to be more friendly to the disabled. No. This is a hard-nosed business article about maximizing your potential audience and your profits at the same time. Keep reading, I promise it is worth it.” The article, Stop talking about accessibility. Start talking about inclusive design, by Paul Boag, goes on to say people have the wrong view of accessibility: “If we are honest we tend to think of blind people.” He says it is time to rebrand accessibility in this easy to read article. He ends with “So next time a client or colleague says they don’t have disabled customers, ask them what they mean. Because they could be turning away more than 1 in 5 of their customers.”
Editor’s Note: Terminology for inclusive practice is critical to success. Accessibility is linked to disability rights and is often legislated. This is why it is still considered to be something for “the others”, and not for everyone. As a human rights issue, inclusion has been hard fought over many years. The terms universal design and inclusive design are still often interpreted as “disabled design”. I wrote a paper on the issues of terminology, Calling a Spade a Shovel: Universal, accessible, adaptable, disabled – aren’t they all the same? It’s a universal mix-up. Jane Bringolf.