From the pixel to the city

A grey picture of the earth with raised areas symbolising citiesInclusive Design: from the pixel to the city features conversations with leading designers creating the next generation of products, graphics and vehicles designed to work better for everyone. The article features a video of  designers’ comments, using animated drawings with voice overs. This adds an interesting perspective to the topic of why we need to make everything inclusive – whether its about pixels or cities. It also shows that creativity need not be curtailed in designing information formats. The article also shows how the graphics for the video were created. The video has closed captions.

Editor’s note: It is good to see information and the reasoning behind inclusive, universal design being presented in more creative ways, and in ways that are not preaching.

 

10 Things to know about Universal Design

The Centre for Excellence in Universal Design in Ireland has developed a comprehensive list that covers all the myths and misinformation about the purpose of universal design. Briefly, the ten things to know about universal design are:

    1. Universal Design strives to improve the original design concept by making it more inclusive
    2. Universally Designed products can have a high aesthetic value
    3. Universal Design is much more than just a new design trend
    4. Universal Design does not aim to replace the design of products targeted at specific markets
    5. Universal Design is not another name for compliance with accessible design standards
    6. Universal Design benefits more people than older people and people with disabilities
    7. Universal Design can be undertaken by any designer, not just specialists
    8. Universal Design should be integrated throughout the design process
    9. Universal Design is not just about ‘one size fits all’
    10. A Universally Designed product is the goal: Universal Design is the process

See more detail about 10 Things to know about Universal Design

7 Principles of universal design

ron_maceThe seven principles of universal design were devised in the mid nineties, but still hold today. They are a good starting point or framework for designing any building, open space, product, phone app, or document. They were developed by a working group of architects, product designers, engineers and environmental design researchers led by the late Ron Mace (pictured).

A good example of explaining the principles can be found on the website of the Centre for Excellence in Universal Design in Ireland. Briefly the principles are:

    1. Equitable Use
    2. Flexibility in Use
    3. Simple and Intuitive to Use
    4. Perceptible Information
    5. Tolerance for Error
    6. Low Physical Effort
    7. Size and Space for Approach and Use

An update to this list was published in 2012 by Steinfeld and Maisel as the 8 Goals of Universal Design. They are more action based than the principles, and include cultural inclusion. Universal Design is about accepting and celebrating diversity, so there are many ways in which to explain universal design. This list gives a good idea of what it is about – the underpinning philosophy.

In 2006 Steinfeld and Danford also ‘crosswalked’ the principles to the ICF – a handy reference for academics utilising the ICF for activities and participation. Or you can download a copy of the slideshow.