Universal Design, Design for All and Inclusive Design are all aimed at dismantling physical and social barriers to inclusion in all areas of life. Engagement in universal design is on the increase worldwide as practitioners and researchers explore creative and desirable solutions to shape the future of universal design products and practices.
This book is a collection of the papers presented at UD2014, the International Conference on Universal Design, held in Lund, Sweden, in June 2014. The conference offered a creative and diverse meeting place for all participants to exchange knowledge, experiences and ideas, and to build global connections and creative networks for future work on universal design. The themes of UD2014 span many aspects of societal life, and the papers included here cover areas as diverse as architecture, public transport, educational and play environments, housing, universal workspaces, and the Internet of things, as well as designs and adaptations for assistive technology.
The book clearly demonstrates the breadth of universal design and its ongoing adoption in societies all over the world, and will be of interest to anyone whose work involves building a more inclusive environment for all.
We are very excited to publish this compilation of the papers to be presented at UD2014, the International Conference on Universal Design in Lund, Sweden, June 16–18, 2014. The engagement for Universal Design around the globe seems to be larger than ever before. UD2014 will bring together a diverse group of practitioners and researchers in a broad conference that focuses on collectively exploring creative and desirable solution proposals that will shape the future of universal design products and practices.
Universal design, design for all and inclusive design all aim at dismantling physical and social barriers to inclusion in all areas of life. Our aim is to make UD2014 in Lund a creative and diverse meeting place for all participants. By exchanging knowledge, experiences and ideas we can build global connections and creative networks for future work on universal design.
We hope the conference will give participants and contributors rich opportunities to learn and engage in discussions on universal design. The contributions represent 27 countries and it is a great pleasure to outline the content of the conference. UD2014 will comprise 89 oral presentations, 6 keynote lectures, 2 plenary sessions, 7 workshops, 24 poster presentations, 10 student projects, and an extensive demo/exhibition track. The themes of UD2014 span over large parts of societal life, in work and in play, in indoor and outdoor spaces, in cities and rural settings, for young and for old.
These proceedings clearly show the breadth of universal design and its on-going adoption in societies all over the world. We are looking forward to meeting you in Lund in June 2014 and wish you a very warm welcome to “Three Days of Creativity and Diversity”.
The concept of universal design is fairly new, just a little more than two decades. The architect Ron Mace based is one of the key persons who have worked on developing the concept. This is a quite different approach to disability than the American with Disability Act, ADA, has developed after 1990, working with detailed ADA guidelines, and focusing much on the rights for persons with different sorts of impairment. The Norwegian, universell utforming, were first in a small report published in 1997, and is a strange hybrid of the American universal design congregation and the ADA. For understandable reasons there has been most focus narrowly on physical for wheelchair users and for persons with visual impairments. This paper try to remind us that persons characterised as disabled are human beings, with senses that are not so much focused on when working with universal design.
Further the paper comments on two Nordic researchers, the architect Camilla Ryhl and the landscape architect Per Hedfors. The paper also refer to another researcher, Inger Marie Lid, who takes us to an even wider perspective, by reflecting on the work by Hannah Arendt and Martha Nussbaum dealing with issues like dignity and participation.
The rise of the number of Individuals with disabilities, worldwide, to a billion, necessitates applying the policies that allow full participation in social life or Mainstreaming these Individuals. Western countries provide a good example in this respect and the choice of the United States and Sweden will be justified. As to Arab Countries, Egypt and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia reveal efforts to integrate this group into social life and Mainstream its members.
Generally, it is assumed that the visually impaired people are unable to comprehend the make-up of physical environment and its spatial characteristics due to lack of vision. This study aims to reassess the contention that vision limits comprehension of form and examines the relationship vision loss, learning ability and comprehension of form vocabulary. It explores the role of tactual depth perception in shape comprehension and examines how different shape categories are understood by the visually impaired people. The most significant inference is that visual impaired people prefer textual information in relief rather than in recess. Similarly, circular shapes easier to comprehend over angular shapes needs to be tested with larger population of visually impaired people.
Trenton Schulz, Kristin Skeide Fuglerud, Henrik Arfwedson, Marc Busch
45 - 54
The user-centered design process helps ensure the requirements of the users are met throughout the development of a product or service. Universal design is an approach that makes sure that the needs of people with disabilities are incorporated. While many have suggested combining user-centered design and universal design, we demonstrate how it can be done in the development of prototypes and mobile apps for the Internet of Things. Applying the user-centered and universal design process allowed us to identify complex issues with user interaction that would not have been found only using accessibility guidelines. We recommend focusing on technical accessibility, performing user evaluations with persons with disabilities, and having an accessibility champion for advocating universal design issues throughout a project.
Kristin Skeide Fuglerud, Till Halbach, Stein Erik Skotkjerra
55 - 59
Compatibility with assistive technology (AT) such as screen readers is a precondition for universal design of ICT. This is also a requirement in the W3C WCAG guidelines. Experience shows that providing compatibility with one screen reader does not necessarily ensure compatibility with other screen readers from different vendors. It is therefore necessary to test an ICT solution with different AT from different vendors to ensure accessibility for all AT users. In this work, we investigate compatibility challenges with AT in depth and explore the potential for an online tool for AT compatibility testing.
The aim of the paper is to understand the situations of Indian elderly and to generate design parameters which when followed will create enabling environment for Indian elderly. To begin with an extensive literature review is done to understand aging, associated problems and the International concepts. Then a field survey is performed to identify the challenges elderly face in activities of daily living (ADLs) in Indian context. The survey is done for the upcoming urban housing typologies in India. These upcoming typologies are identified with market survey and scientific layering of the data. Then 27 elderly in the age group of 60 to 85 years representing independent elderly, frail elderly, and dependent elderly are studied using different environment-behaviour research tools, living in joint and nuclear families, in identified housing typologies. The collected data from interview questionnaires, audios, traces and photographs, is analyzed in layers to identify 26 environmental issues. Based on these identified issues, analysis and synthesis is done to identify the possibilities of interventions at architecture design level, to create Inclusive enabling environments for Indian elderly.
This paper describes a research and design project focused on investigating challenges of work in behind the counter (BhC) workspaces. Present designs of BhC workspaces do not accommodate needs of intended users; and exclude older adults and people-with-disabilities from employment possibilities. The project examined challenges of work in BhC workspaces for the working population in the United States. People-focused and environment-oriented research methods were employed to learn about needs and preferences of employees working in office reception, library checkout, hotel reception and airline check-in counters. A multimodal research methodology helped to map problems from different perspectives; identify user needs and preferences; and generate guidelines to inform design development of inclusive BhC workspaces. The resulting BhC workspace designs incorporate principles of universal design and enable employment opportunities for everyone.
High levels of quality for built environments that meet the needs of the largest segments of population can be achieved by enhancing their accessibility, seen as the attitude of places, goods and services to be identifiable, approachable, understandable and usable autonomously by all. Despite an abounding framework of standards and regulations, places don't always reach a satisfying accessibility degree being, in fact, full of physical and perceptive obstacles. The “culture” of Universal Design has not yet been able to substantially modify the processes of planning and designing the habitat transformation; this calls for shifting the action from the mere compliance with regulation to the implementation of strategies for environmental regeneration. The effectiveness of projects that achieve the highest accessibility degree cannot be separated from the ability to involve all the stakeholders in the decision making process, hence including end users. Consistent policies at different scales and the development of actions with a strategic value can be adopted to meet the vision, such as the planning of interventions guided by appropriate operational tools. The paper refers to the experience carried out in Italy by some municipalities which developed “Accessibility Plan” as planning tool and “Accessibility Lab” as its operational body.
In the U.S. the technical criteria in a voluntary building standard called ICC/ANSI A117.1. are the basis for minimum building regulations that accommodate wheeled mobility users. Research conducted in 1970's was the basis for these criteria but since that time, wheelchairs and their users have changed considerably. This paper describes a research and development project designed to update the evidence for these technical criteria and communicate them to the standards committee, the majority of whom do not have a background in either research or building design practice, in a manner that would facilitate making good decisions. A graphic method was used to communicate research findings so that members of the committee could understand the impact of their decisions. The graphics are now available to practitioners who seek to accommodate a wider range of wheeled mobility users than the minimum standards required by regulations. Thus these tools provide a visual evidence base for regulatory activity and universal design practice with higher ambitions.
Much of the equipment used in Snoezelen environments today is not interactive, and the equipment that is interactive can be hard for the user to access. By having interactive equipment in Snoezelen environments the user gets to experience and hopefully better understand the concept of cause and effect.
The purpose of this project has been to develop an interactive interface that can appeal to a wide range of users. By a small effort they should be able to get a response from the interface. To do this, different methods have been used, such as qualitative research methods and bodystorming. The work was developed following a user-centered design method and an iterative design process, where Snoezelen users in two different Snoezelen institutions in the Öresund Region participated.
The interactive interface is called Glownado. It is quite small and allows the user to interact in different ways, it can be approached, put into motion, and it has different tactile structure that the user can touch. This makes it easy to interact with Glownado, in a way that suits the user's needs and abilities. The feedback the user gets is in form of wind, sound and light, and creates a multisensory stimulation localized to one area. Depending on how the user interacts with it, it has different behaviors to respond to the specific action. It is important that the user gets an immediate response to their action, to understand that they are the ones making it happen. Wind has never been implemented in interactive Snoezelen equipment before. It creates a surprise moment, which makes the users curious to continue explore.
Aldyfra Lukman, Catherine Bridge, Stephen Dain, Mei-Ying Boon
109 - 118
Inclusive design outcomes in architecture rely on valid and reliable information about user experiences. The way users perceive and experience the built environment contains the clues for the optimal facilitation of their needs and expectations. However, their perceptions of aspects of the built environment and their needs and expectations are not easily accessed for incorporation into the design work of professional architects and architecture students. This paper identifies how this need may be addressed and outlines methods of making such knowledge more accessible and in a form that facilitates ease of incorporation of user perceptions and expectations into design. Specifically, this paper details approaches whereby user perceptions are transformed into design tools that can be used by architects for applying inclusive design. Several approaches that are described in this paper can be applied and combined by architects and students to obtain information regarding user perception of the built environment and subsequently converting the information into the tools or criteria for designing inclusive buildings and facilities. The approaches and the tools are expected to support the incorporation of inclusive design into the architecture profession and education.
Nicole McNamara, Michael Bleasdale, Catherine Bridge
119 - 128
Recent disability and aged care reforms in Australia have shifted emphasis from ongoing support and care toward prevention and early intervention, complementing universal design values of equity and flexibility. The reforms encourage the active engagement of individuals in the choices they make about housing and the support and care they receive, and will drive a preference to age in place. Approximately 2% of Australia's housing stock is new built each year, with a small proportion incorporating universal design principles. Consequently, existing premises will need to be modified to enable people who are ageing and people with disability to live in the community and receive support at home. This paper considers how, in a person-centred support environment, do-it-yourself (DIY) home modifications expand our understanding of universal design, as DIY can empower individuals to exercise autonomy and control over their lives and the choices they make.
This paper uses preliminary findings from research undertaken at the Home Modification Information Clearinghouse (Australia) into DIY home modifications to illustrate how the DIY process reaffirms the role of the individual in universal design. First, the paper provides an overview of the Australian reforms and universal housing design in Australia to highlight the potential of modifications to enable aging in place. The paper then provides an overview of the project and research methods, followed by a discussion of preliminary findings. The paper concludes that DIY highlights the importance of individual choice and control over changes made to a person's home. DIY home modification practices should inform the way that universal design policies accommodate and facilitate the views and preferences of the individuals they are designed to serve.
Bruce Judd, Edgar Liu, Hazel Easthope, Catherine Bridge
129 - 138
Downsizing and retirement village living are popularly regarded as the norm for older Australians, when in reality this accounts for only a small proportion of them. Most remain in their own larger detached homes in the general community for as long as possible, until disability or illness renders this difficult or impossible. However the design of most detached suburban houses does not facilitate ageing in place. Based on findings from two recent research projects funded by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute, this paper explores why most older Australians remain in their own homes, why those who do move or downsize do so, into what types of dwellings and tenure, and how they go about this process. The findings challenge conventional understandings of both housing utilization and downsizing. Underutilisation is largely a misnomer amongst older Australians and downsizing is relatively rare. Those who do downsize do so generally for lifestyle and reduced maintenance rather than financial reasons, yet there is a lack of supply of appropriately designed, located and affordable housing which ironically might encourage moving/downsizing to the benefit of the ageing population and the wider housing market. These findings also support the need to accelerate the adoption of universal design principles in both housing and neighbourhoods, a need also recognized by older people themselves.
Majority of Japanese people now know the term “Universal Design.” It is not only because of publicizing effort by the local governments and their related organizations, but also schools have taken up universal design (UD) as a concept to be taught. Shizuoka University of Art and Culture has adopted UD as one of its fundamental policies since it was established in 2000, and the authors examined how the students of high schools and of the Shizuoka University of Art and Culture have learned UD. Authors compared the findings with UD education tools for pupils and students, including UD promotion by the local governments and Japanese language textbooks. The examination of the effect upon students' knowledge of UD by these tools and actions suggests correlation between them, and what are sufficient/insufficient as to the contents of UD education. The authors discuss what UD education should be, based on the results.
As the world has a rapidly growing aging population, more and more attention must be paid to product design and development for older adults. Designer should understand the change of aged function, so that they can design product which can satisfy older adults need. Experiment investigated the effects of color combinations of text/background on reading performance. Results showed that nine better color combinations of text/background, including orange/indigo, yellow/red, yellow/green, yellow/indigo, green/white, indigo/yellow, white/red, white/green and white/blue, however, two bad color combinations of text/background, including green/orange and green/blue. Results of this study can be widely applied to various product interfaces, e.g. test displayed on computer monitors, tablet PC interfaces, touch screens, and electronic directories.
The social context for stairway design in multi-story buildings is changing. At one time, stairways were viewed primarily as a means of egress in an emergency, and elevators or escalators were the primary method of vertical circulation with the exception of monumental “feature” stairways. Today, the emphasis is changing to promote the use of stairways in buildings as opposed to use of elevators due to the health benefits of stair climbing. This is providing an opportunity for architects and building owners to experiment with innovative designs. One interesting innovation is the “interactive stairway.” Little is known about the impact of these interventions on the rate of stair accidents. The purpose of this study was to assess the safety of interactive stairway designs by comparing the user's behavior and the incidence of unsafe stair use on two interactive stairways with a stairway made of conventional material. A checklist for recording observations of stair users was developed. Observations were conducted in two museum buildings with interactive stairways and in one university building with a conventional stairway. Safety-related behaviors and incidents on the interactive stairways (CM and SM) and the conventional stairway (SU) were documented and compared. On the interactive stairways, more stair users glanced down at the treads (CM: 90%, SM: 81% vs. SU: 53%); fewer stair users diverted their gaze away from the stairs (CM: 22%, SM: 32% vs. SU: 66%); and handrail use was higher (CM: 40%, SM: 33% vs. SU: 28%). Incident rates were similar across the stairways (CM: 2.2%, SM: 2.2%, SU: 2.6%). The research suggests that interactivity can improve stair safety if used appropriately.
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