A city designed only for young and old?

a Disney type street facade with imaginative designs that look appealing to childrenA city only for children and older people and all other age groups are welcome on visitor passes? What would such a city look like?  A good question because having a visitor pass to your own city is what it feels like to groups who have not been considered in the design. The article, Diversity and belonging in the city comes from the Urban Design and Mental Health Journal. Erin Sharp Newton.poses various human perspectives on the city, urban form, architecture and design. A somewhat philosophical piece, but a step away from the usual thinking.

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Web guidelines don’t cover everything

one hand is holding a smart phone and the other is pointing at the screenA nicely written and easy to read article on the Axess Lab website explains that the WCAG – the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines were only updated to include vision impairments and assistive technologies. But what about hand control? Motor impairments were not included, but this doesn’t mean they should be overlooked. Uusing a smart phone can be very frustrating when bumping to a page that’s not wanted and having to get back again – frustrating for anyone, but more so when it happens all the time. Axess Lab have provided some simple design solutions. See the article for more and for more about WCAG. Axess Lab lives the message and has a really clean site with easy language – a good example for others. Lots of resources here.  

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A beer and a packet of chips

Large packets of chips are standing in a line on a benchA simple pleasure for most, but if you can’t open the chip pack then not so pleasurable. This is a problem for more people than you might think. An article in the Inclusive Design Toolkit Bulletin explains how a student redesigned the chip packet for easier opening. Around 10 million people have arthritis in the UK, and over 10 million chip packets are consumed each week, so student Thomas Woodburn decided to redesign the packaging considering the needs of this user group. He found that many people with arthritis use scissors to open the typical seal used in packaging. While wearing the Cambridge Simulation Gloves, Thomas experienced great difficulty trying to ‘pinch and pull’ to open chip packaging. He designed a corrugated fibreboard pack that opens with a small amount of force applied to the lid, using a mechanism for the lid that folds out three-dimensionally and enables the fingers to remain in a natural position. You can see similar articles in Issue 4 of the Bulletin. There is more good material on the Inclusive Design Toolkit site. 

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It’s not just about wheelchairs

Front cover of the bookWheelchair users have been centre stage when it comes to accessibility, even though there is some way to go when it comes to full inclusion. But now other groups are now being considered in the quest for accessibility and inclusion. People with sensory and cognitive impairments, particularly dementia, are attracting more attention, even if it is only in the research literature. “Inclusive Design” by Karim Hadjri, Yasemin Afacan, Tulika Gadakari, tackle this aspect of design and argue, as with all other inclusive design features, that it needs to be embedded in the early stages of design. The chapter unexpectedly appears in ZEMCH: Toward the Delivery of Zero Energy Mass Custom Homes, and is available from SpringerLink. At least it is good to see the topic nestling between chapters on passive design and energy efficiency.

Abstract: This chapter will explain and discuss the principles, role and importance of Inclusive Design particularly in the context of an ageing society. It will review the changing and complex user needs and requirements through case studies and current work of leading organizations. Current standards used in the UK and elsewhere will be reviewed to establish whether they need to take into account sensory and cognitive impairments into consideration. So far, these have not been fully accepted by industry and practice and more needs to be done by policy makers. Findings of recent research on users’ needs and requirements will be reviewed to highlight the needs for more inclusivity in the design of the built environment. Additionally, barrier-free design and Inclusive Design will be further examined to assess the use of technology in embedding accessibility during the design stage. This chapter will allow students, lecturers and designers to understand the value and purpose of Inclusive Design and its potential to provide an accessible and age-friendly built environment.

You will need institutional access for a free read.

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Inclusive Design Toolkit updates

inclusive design toolkitThe 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 issue has six items with links to appropriate pages:

  1. SEE-IT Tool for assessing visual exclusion for mobile friendly websites
  2. The passenger experience at Heathrow Airport
  3. Making e-commerce images fit for purpose – the Unilever experience
  4. Barclays Bank simulation equipment to help better design
  5. Opening food packaging
  6. 3D prototyping workshop from Include 2105 with a focus on gripping and holding hot drink cups
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