Many event managers and venues have yet to get their head around their obligations under the Disability Discrimination Act. While many public buildings may have access through the front door and accessible toilet, this does not make for an inclusive event. Did anyone think about a handrail on the steps to the podium, a lower lectern for a seated speaker, or what to do with the guide dog?
Venue owners and managers, caterers and equipment suppliers are yet to get up to speed with what is required. Meetings and Events Australia have a comprehensive handbook on accessible events which was written in consultation with the Human Rights Commission in 2012. However, it appears only to be available to members of the Association and is not visible on their web home page. Nevertheless, a Google search will also find the Accessible Events Guide. The Guide also has a checklist at the end.
Factors that many organisers might not think about are, a drinking bowl for an assistance dog, the way the event or meeting is promoted, and ensuring there is lighting on the face of speakers for lip readers.
Editor’s Note: While trying to think of everything to make the 2014 Universal Design Conference inclusive, we found the suppliers of the staging equipment did not have a handrail for the steps and the wheelchair ramp was too steep to climb without help. The one-size fits all lectern is also a problem. Rarely is there a lectern that a seated person or person of short stature can use.
There is no legislation within Australia to guide the design of sporting or leisure activities that enable participation by everyone at a level that suits them. Universal Design: Integrating the Principles into Camp Activities outlines the importance of universal design and ways in which environments, activities and programs within residential camps can be used by everyone. It shows how to apply the seven principles of universal design to all aspects of camp activities. Sport and Recreation Victoria and YMCA have made this report available to increase awareness and applicability of universal design in residential camps. The image shows how anyone can enjoy the flying fox on the “Skyrider”.
Tree Tops Crazy Rider offers fun for all ages and abilities. The video link shows people having fun. The ride, which is located on the Central Coast, is accessible inasmuch as it can be in a natural environment. The information below the video link provides details on how people with disability can participate. The main website provides the general details including costs and opening times. Go to the location section and choose Central Coast. Scroll down for the information about the accessible ride which is only available at this location.
What are the best practice methods for consulting with users to implement universal design?
This literature review captured articles about projects that attempted to achieve universal design or user-centred design by consulting with users throughout the design process. The studies were predominantly qualitative case studies, in which a variety of different methods were used. These techniques included the full participation of users in the design process, the use of hidden cameras, observation, focus groups, scaled cardboard models and 3-D virtual environments. Some important considerations for consulting with users are raised in the literature.
Evan Wilkinson outlines the process that Sport and Recreation Victoria went through to bring about a better understanding of the principles of universal design. One of his key arguments is that if universal design principles are considered at the outset, the cost implications are low. However, if left until later in the design and construction process, the cost of ‘adding on’ access features is far more costly. Download the PDF of the PowerPoint Slideshow. (5.5 MB)
Sport and Recreation Victoria have also launched their Design for Everyone Guide. The link takes you to the website that also has a very useful video on universal design shown below.
This excellent video shows how the application of universal design principles throughout the design of the camp facilities and camp activities, including staff attitudes, can bring about the inclusiveness that is the aim of universal design. The camp is run by YMCA on behalf of Sport and Recreation Victoria.