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Welcome to the Universal Design Australia website

The aim of universalising design is to create a more inclusive world. Universal Design, as an endeavour in its own right, is being used internationally as a vehicle for bringing about wholesale change in design thinking throughout the design process so that all people are considered regardless of age, capability, or background.

Universal design is a design concept not a design product. The principles of universal design can be applied to concrete things like products, buildings and open spaces, to intellectual activities such as designing learning programs, and to conceptual things such as policies and practices.UD Australia logo


Wet n Wild Sydney wins award

Red and yellow striped tubes twisted with blue and yellow tubes with a big water slideWet n Wild Sydney is the recipient of an accessible outdoor public domain award for 2017. The newly established awards were jointly organised by the Association of Consultants in Access Australia and the NSW Department of Family and Community Services. The two other categories were residential and non-residential. Architects were the Buchan Group, and the access consultants were Howard Moutrie and Farah Madon. The builder was Lipman. The video below shows how well people are included in the water play activities and the other attractions in the park. All are having fun. An excellent example of inclusion.


Look here: Kitchen lighting refocused

A modern kitchen with a bowl of fruit in the foreground and a stove and microwave in the backgroundDoug Walter writes in ProRemodeller magazine about new research in kitchen lighting. He says, “Most kitchens are woefully underlit. Lighting is often an afterthought, yet even when it’s carefully planned, designers and lighting experts often don’t agree on which lamps work best in particular fixtures and where those fixtures should be located.” It seems housing standards aren’t much help and it is left up to the kitchen designer or the homeowner to work it out for themselves. The article offers practical and technical advice about lighting the kitchen so you can see what you are doing, safely and conveniently. 

Lighting is of particular importance to anyone with low vision – even people who wear glasses need good light to make sure the work-space and benches are hygienic and safe. And more light isn’t always better if it produces glare.  


UD Forum in Adelaide

twilight picture of AdelaideThe UD forum scheduled for 26 October 2017 in Adelaide is taking shape with a draft program almost ready. The Hon Kelly Vincent MLC will be one of the speakers. Norwegian architect Kaare Krokene will provide an international perspective, and Nathan Crane will moderate an architecture and design panel session. Other speakers are being lined up and there will be a small trade display. Watch this space for more info coming, but put the date in your diary! The title of the day is, Designing and Building for All: Adelaide Universal Design Forum. It will be hedd at the Adelaide Convention Centre. Sponsorships and trade display opportunities are open. We are pleased to have The City of Adelaide as a major sponsor.


Visual artforms for everyone

Two pars of hands touch a head and shoulders statueA nice article about access to the displays and contents of art galleries and museums for people who are blind or have low vision. Audio description is one way of providing access, tactile representations are another. The Beyond Disability webpage article shows how art is becoming more accessible for blind and low-vision communities around the world.

3D printing has changed many things and 3D representations of prints are now possible. Braille can also be introduced into visual art. See the article to find out the interesting and creative ways that art and other exhibits can be made accessible. Indeed, these methods are an art form in their own right.


Advances in design for inclusion – book

Front cover of the book: yellow background with dark blue text.This book is practice-orientated and covers many fields of design.The overview of this publication states, “This book focuses on a range of topics in design, such as universal design, design for all, digital inclusion, universal usability, and accessibility of technologies independently of people’s age, economic situation, education, geographic location, culture and language. … Based on the AHFE 2016 International Conference on Design for Inclusion, held on July 27-31, 2016, in Walt Disney World®, Florida, USA, this book discusses new design technologies, highlighting various requirements of individuals within a community. Thanks to its multidisciplinary approach, the book represents a useful resource for readers with different kinds of backgrounds and provides them with a timely, practice-oriented guide to design for inclusion.” You can download the promotional flyer or go to the link allows you to download the Table of Contents.


Normal is a fantasy

black and white photo of a young man wearing a T shirt and leaning on the bars of a window grille.This article begins with, “Your stomach is knotted. But you’ve prepared. It’s go time. Outwardly, you fit in with your peers. Yet only you could know about the invisible disability within you that no one else can see. The thing that makes you different. Not “normal.”” The article goes on to discuss the concept of normal from the perspective of a young person starting a new school year.  An interesting read about being a normate, the fear of being ordinary (FOBO), and identity. It is presented in a very readable way with lots of great photos. The article, This May Sound Awkward, but Normal Is a Fantasy,  can be found on the Invisible Disability Project website.  


Accessibility up in the air

Website header for All Wheels Up - mid blue background with orange graphic of a plane with a wheelchair symbol and the words in white, we want accessible planesIf we are working towards accessible tourism – destinations for all – then airlines have to come to the party on this. Airline online magazine has an interesting article about accommodating wheelchair users better. Yes there are many horror stories about air travel, but coming up with solutions is another matter. All Wheels Up  is an organisation that advocates for accessible air travel and is now working with a crash testing team. But it is not all about wheelchair users – as we know there are many other airline users who find air travel difficult. The article tells the story of a child who has many supports on his wheelchair, but has to sit in a regular seat without these important supports for his head and body. Wouldn’t it be good if he could stay in his wheelchair which could be secured by tie-downs similar to that in wheelchair accessible taxis? See the video below and more from All Wheels Up website.