Accessible Design 

Aging baby boomers and the growing acceptance that people have diverse physical and mental abilities have stimulated international interest in accessible and universal design.

Almost twenty percent of Australians have a long-term disability. As the Australian population ages, this percentage will increase. Most people with a disability experience some restriction in relation to their core activities of personal care, schooling and employment. However, most are able to live in their own home and retain their independence. Family and friends are their main carers.

he picture is one of people with disabilities and the elderly, living independently and with the support of families in their communities. In this scenario accessible environments must be developed.

wayfinding for blind vision impaired propleOur understanding of these issues as a society is changing. Instead of thinking of access issue being relevant to someone else who uses a wheelchair, we are thinking more broadly and personally. We are now thinking in terms of universal access -providing access for all people irrespective of ability.

Universal Design

The following information about Universal Design is extracted from the website of the Centre for Universal Design at North Carolina State University

Universal Design is the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialised design.

The Principles of Universal Design

  • Principle 1: Equitable Use
    The design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities.
  • Principle 2: Flexibility in Use
    The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities.
  • Principle 3: Simple and Intuitive Use
    Use of the design is easy to understand, regardless of the user’s experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level.
  • Principle 4: Perceptible Information
    The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions.
  • Principle 5: Tolerance for Error
    The design minimises hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions.
  • Principle 6: Low Physical Effort
    The design can be used efficiently and comfortably and with a minimum of fatigue.
  • Principle 7: Size and Space for Approach and Use
    Appropriate size and space is provided for approach, reach, manipulation, and use regardless of user’s body size, posture, or mobility.

Designers must also incorporate other considerations such as economic, engineering, cultural, gender, and environmental concerns in their design processes. These Principles offer designers guidance to better integrate features that meet the needs of as many users as possible.

Bruce Bromley Design knows that communication between designer, owner and builder is the key to the successful outcome of any project. We utilise state-of-the-art computer aided design, enabling the firm to work on all size projects, while providing clients with the personal service they deserve.

Bruce Bromley is an Accredited Disability Access Consultant registered with the Association of Consultants in Access Australia inc. Registration #MN187