How much do our body shapes and sizes differ? A lot. But if you only know a few different shapes and sizes, how will you know if your design is inclusive? A guide for body shape and size is a useful reference.
The Centre for Excellence in Universal Design in Ireland has a set of information sheets on body shape and size. They guide designers in how to apply these factors in their work to achieve more universally designed products and services.
The overview of the guideline project explains the importance of considering body shape and size in designs. For governments and other institutions it helps with the selection and procurement of everyday products such as street furniture. Designing for the extremes of body shape and size affords extra convenience for all users. It also helps avoid user discomfort, embarrassment and even harm. There are five fact sheets
A related academic paper from 2014 takes body size and shape further and applies it to mobility devices. The guide to the circulation requirements for various wheeled mobility devices is from Denmark. It includes research on the spatial needs for parking as well as toilets and building entries as well as accessible paths of travel.
Charts with dimensions of the various mobility types is included and includes tables for children and the bariatric population. The guide also discusses the need to think to the future of mobility devices and not assume that the size and styles will remain the same.
Person-environment fit using the ICF
Making the environment fit for all regardless of capacity is an important goal for public health efforts. But valid methods for measuring accessibility are currently lacking. This study aims to address this lack. Using the ICF as a conceptual framework, a typology of person-environment fit was developed along three dimensions: 1) accessibility problem range and severity; 2) aspects of functioning; 3) environmental context.
Making the built environment accessible for all regardless of functional capacity is an important goal for public health efforts. Considerable impediments to achieving this goal suggest the need for valid measurements of accessibility and for greater attention to the complexity of person-environment fit issues.
To address these needs, this study aimed to provide a methodological platform, useful for further research and instrument development within accessibility research. This was accomplished by the construction of a typology of problematic person-environment fit constellations, utilizing an existing methodology developed to assess and analyze accessibility problems in the built environment.”
Article by Björn Slaug, Oliver Schilling, Susanne Iwarsson, and Gunilla Carlsson