Universal design principles for Australia’s aid program

DFAT UD guidelines

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade stipulates that all overseas aid programs must follow the Principles of Universal Design. They have produced a comprehensive guide to all types of development projects including water, health, education and the built environment. It is useful to see how thinking universally about design can produce such a clear guide to inclusive practice and accessibility. 

Download the document here.

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Visual Ergonomics: Use of colour in visual displays

Colour can help viewers quickly locate important information. However, factors such as poor colour contrast can make reading difficult leading to visual fatigue.  This one page by Jennifer Long briefly explains some of the issues (apologies for the scan quality).

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Pirrama Park Accessible Playground

The City of Sydney imported the purpose-built, accessible spinner from Germany and installed it at Pirrama Park playground in Pyrmont. The spinner can fit up to three wheelchairs at once, as well as several other children – so everyone can have fun together.

It has a simple, built-in braking mechanism. It’s a great design which means everyone can enjoy themselves at the same time. Picture by SydneyMedia.com.au.

Pirrama Park Spinner

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Accessibility of street furniture at Chester Zoo

Chester zoo picAs part of his PhD study, Michael David William Richards at Salford University (UK), he interviewed Prof Geoff Hosey about street furniture and directional signage at Chester Zoo.

This article is in Access by Design Issue 141.

The Accessibility of Street Furniture at Chester Zoo An Interview with Professor Geoff Hosey 

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Universal Design: New York

This handbook edited by Danise Levine was published in 2003 by the Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access,  University at Buffalo. It provides guidance for all aspects of an urban environment as well as temporary lodging, workplace facilities and human service facilities.  It also lists seven myths about universal design and shows how they are just myths:

1. There are only a small number of people who benefit
2. Universal design only helps people with disability and older people
3. Legislation for disability rights have created equality, so no need to do more
4. Improved medical technology is reducing the incidence of functional limitation
5. Universal design cannot sustain itself in the marketplace because the people who need it most cannot afford it
6. Universal design is simply good ergonomic design
7. Universal design cost even more than accessible design
Download Universal Design: New York pdf

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Norway universally designed by 2025

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The Norwegian Government has taken the principles of universal design and applied them to their planning policies.  This has the effect of making everyone responsible for inclusion at every level – in the built environment, outdoor areas, transport, and ICT.  You can download their latest action plan Norway universally designed by 2025.

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