Why Is Accessible Design Good for Everyone? | ARTiculations

Why Is Accessible Design Good for Everyone? | ARTiculations

Have you ever encounter a situation like this,
your hands are full of grocery bags. You get to a door. You realize, there’s no way you can open
that door knob without putting the stuff down? In that case – it’s possible you’ve encountered
a round door knob. For many people – encountering a door without
an easily operable lever is usually just a minor inconvenience. But for people with manual dexterity limitations,
hand injuries, and other related disabilities a round door knob may prevent them them
being able to go through that door. If that door had a lever style handle, it
could be operable with a closed fist, or even an elbow – making it much more accessible
to people with or without disabilities. Similarly – even though power door operators
are often designed for people with disabilities the reality is that they make going through
a door easier for all kinds of people – including people using wheelchairs, crutches and walkers,
people carrying handful of shopping bags, parents with strollers, and delivery people
carrying boxes or pushing trolleys. I’m an interior designer and I often think
about how everyday environments could be improved with good design. From overall circulation flows throughout
spaces to details like door hardware. And a part of good design is having the awareness
and consideration for people of different abilities. While many accessible design components may
have initially been designed with disabilities in mind – the vast majority of accessible
improvements to products, fixtures and environments actually end up providing better access for
everyone. Automatic toilet flushes, faucets and soap
dispensers are easier to use for people who cannot reach or cannot operate levers, buttons
and valves, but it also makes using a washroom more sanitary and more convenient for most
people. Visually contrasting flooring transitions,
tactile warning strips, and cane detectable barriers help many people, whether they have
a visual impairment or not, to see and detect oncoming hazards more easily. Over the last few decades, some designers
have also adopted the principles of “universal design” – which is a design approach that
considers many different human factors, including abilities, age, genders and cultural backgrounds. Universal design reframes the approach to
how we think about people with disabilities where their needs are not seen as “special
circumstances” but a part many different human factors that require consideration. For instance – drinking fountains, lavatories,
and service counters with high and low surfaces, or desks and tables where the heights are
adjustable, are not only designed for the use of wheelchair users, but also for children,
older adults, people of different heights, and people with different usage preferences. Simple, easily navigable wayfinding with visual
and tactile signage help people with visual and auditory impairments, but can also improve
the experience of people who speak different languages, and people with cognitive disabilities. Universal toilet rooms can accommodate not
only wheelchair users, but also individuals travelling with caregivers of the same or
opposite gender, families with children, as well as people who prefer to use non-gendered
washrooms. Often, the concept of “providing accommodations
to disabled people” is misunderstood as “making disabled people dependant on society
to help them.” When in fact – accommodating disabilities
is pretty much the opposite of that. While some disabled people do require caretakers
or guide animals to help them with their day to day life, the goal of accessible design
is actually to provide independence for people with disabilities. If we provide ways for people to independently
open doors, go up levels, use the toilet, get around safely, obtain services, and find
information basically go about their day to day life like most other people. Then technically, they’re not disabled anymore. It’s important to realize that traditionally we have built our environments to exclude certain people. Disabilities are not inherently possessed
by the individual they’re shaped by the barriers we have put up. While it’s obviously not practical to immediately
rebuild everything, there are still things we can do and steps we can take to remove
these barriers. Some may argue that designing and building
accessible products and environment can be costly. While that may be true in some circumstances,
when it comes to building new spaces and creating new products – there is often not a cost difference
to implementing accessible features. Choosing a more visually contrasting colour
at a change in floor level usually costs nothing as long as the product is the same. And installing one type of door lever over
another will result in minimal price differences, if any. But of course – there are still costs to some
accessible features, and the retrofitting of existing non-accessible spaces could have
a high initial cost. However – in many cases – it is arguably more
economically detrimental to ignore accessibility. According to the World Health Organization,
around 15% of the world’s population live with disabilities, a percentage that’s expected
to rise in most developed nations due to the increase in the older adult populations. Communities and businesses all benefit from
the participation of people with disabilities as consumers as well as being productive
members of the workforce. Even in private homes, inaccessible design
will also directly and indirectly cost individuals money – such in the loss of productivity,
as well as in the cost of caretakers or people taking time off work to care for disabled
family members. By building spaces that accommodate people
with disabilities, we can provide them with economic empowerment and independence, and
in most cases, we will also improve the quality of life for just about everybody. If you look at it this way, accessible design
may just be one of the most morally and fiscally responsible things we can do. So what do you think? What are some design improvements that you
think would benefit accessibility and usability in your life – whether it’s at home, work,
school or a public space? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. Thanks for watching, this video is a part
a series where I discuss the various aspects of the interior design profession. If you are interested, here are some more
videos to check out and please subscribe for more. Until next time!

65 thoughts on “Why Is Accessible Design Good for Everyone? | ARTiculations

  1. Amazing video as always, Betty! This got me thinking about how online spaces that are accessible also make everyone’s lives better. For instance, captioned videos allow someone to watch and enjoy a video even in public spaces where having the sound on would be a detriment.

  2. I never realize that the different heights of the water fountain were for wheelchaired people. I thought they were for kids, but that makes more sense

  3. Dude, I was feeling pretty down lately because it seems like no one is paying attention to SO MUCH WORLD SUCK.

    Then this video gave me hope!

    Then y'all mentioned that cost is an excuse people use to not be inclusive in design made me angry.

    Then I made sure I hit the "get notifications for new video button" and I was happy again!!

    Thank you.

  4. This sounds like a 99 pi episode. I really loved this video. Personally more videos about these types of things may be in order. 🙂 Keep up the good work

  5. Ramps instead of steps have been used more often recently. Not just for wheelchairs but also for those with walking disabilities and more.

  6. So interesting! I love the idea that accessible design helps everyone. They’ve become a normal part of life, but make my life easier! If only I had something that could help me carry all my grocery bags in one trip…

  7. 3:50 I think nobody built intentional barriers, most likely those are a side effect of caring too much about a vision to consider real life needs
    I care because " to exclude certain people" implies some degree of malice and vilifies to some extent. That always makes designers say something like "nobody understands my art" and then ignore the actual constructive criticism
    I hope this nitpicking won't give the wrong impression, I think this video is excellent (the others too)

  8. Awesome video – only thing though, sometimes i feel designers treat accessibility like an after thought rather than something to reach for. Granted Massachusetts has pretty strict accessibility laws.
    I wish all elevators had verbal feedback to which floor it was on and what side the door is on.

    Ps. I never linked touchless bathrooms with accessibility. Learn something nee everyday

  9. Oh, boy. I live in Ukraine and have problems with walking. So I go to a state-owned dental hospital to fix a tooth and you know what?
    The entrance is 20 steps up high and they don't have handrails.
    It get's ridiculous sometimes.

  10. Great video! It's good to see you back. And they're very important ideas. My mom was in a wheelchair for a while after an accident, and our home was so inaccessible she actually had to stay in an assisted living facility while she was recuperating. Seeing her interact with different environments and how some places worked better than others opened up for me a lot of this stuff. I hope this design trend continues. ^_^

  11. I really love the fact that you address how accessible features benefit many types of people. I have tried explaining this to people in the past who try to say that for one reason or another that certain accessibility features are "a waste of money" because they are meant to be used by one particular group and that group alone. This video will definitely be a great reference for how that isn't true at all!

  12. I have never actually used a round doorknob, they don’t exist here, we only have these lever-style ones.

  13. The main entrance to a University has doors that are so heavy that you need to lean with your full body against them to open. So most people use the side entrance. An automatic door opener wold everyones life easier. And the Math-building has a revolving door and 4 normal doors that you can only open from the inside. changing these doors so they can be used both would help wheelchair people and everybody can rush faster to classroom without a heavy door slowing them down.

  14. People of norms are disabled whether they realized it or not. If we remove stairway and turn into a rocky side, then they would not be able to articulate their way through and some will trip, some will fall, some will break their ankle — they're severely disabled to the nature and they need shelter to be protected from the element of weather, they need the ground to be flat, so that they can walk, all things made by human is simply to make it easier for them — including technology like broom and car, to ease their way through without any need to raise concern about — So, rather than to say the well known categorized people who are known for having disability is a wrong perception to hold — Humans are fragile, we're easy to get injuried, we're easy to misperceive something — So, hence there's a policy and of all things standard and the rise of technology is simply to make it easier for us to get along and make way.

  15. I have a disability that affects balance and the widening of doors and walkways has helped me to be able to get myself around school without needing help and it’s amazing

  16. If a door needs an easily-operated handle to allow people to go through with minimal effort – maybe the door itself is redundant there?
    Ofc this doesnt relate to many other cases where lever handle is better than round knob etc.
    Thanks for the video, did not think about all this from this angle.
    Altho in some cases these special addition can' be used by others. Or uncomfortable to use. E.g. long ramps for wheelchairs/baby carriers/bikes. They take significant space and can't replace stairs for other people, i.e. you have to keep both stairs and ramp.

  17. Accessible design should be an integral part of everyday things.
    A few examples that could use some improvement:
    – Paper towel dispensers that rip the towels if you have wet hands (We have those at our office.. Terribly annoying)
    – Street lights where it is not clear if you have to press a button or if it will switch automatically (Kudos to UK, they have standardized them very well!)
    – Alarm clocks with 20 features controlled via 3 buttons, so you have to get the instruction manual every half a year when daylight savings switches
    – Plugs at the back of computer monitors or TVs that are hard to reach from any sensible position

    And one of my favourites, on some of our local train stations the elevators/escalators have a habit of breaking down every few weeks. There should always be a backup set, as things. will. break. eventually.
    Just a few things that get me going everytime I notice 🙂

  18. A slightly longer faucet so I don't have to bump the washbasin or wash my hand sideways. why so hard…….

  19. 100% likes well deserved.

    P.S. I know bringing this up will make someone dislike but I am still proud as of now 100% are likes.

  20. Extra Credits did a video on this topic as applied to game design. They make many of the same points you do. Seems good designers think alike, regardless of their field.

    For anyone who hasn't seen it, here's a link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJoax1Z1x4Y

  21. Even if accessibility is making disabled people dependent, the alternative is nothing for them to depend on.

  22. remove the loud background music on your video to make it more accessible to people with hearing impairments or who are easily distracted.

  23. Does reducing the selection pressures which reward able-bodied people with access to institutions actually benefit humanity as a whole, or does it create a dysgenic environment? Further, are these propositions' expenses outweighed by their value? In most cases, I would say that they aren't. Of course, it's in your interest to say that they are, because this is your field of work, and people like having work. You may think over-engineering something to perfection is desirable, futuristic, or just fun and interesting, but when it begins to go from a possible design to a mandatory design, that is when they should receive scrutiny as to their actual impacts on society, and not just their impacts on the individuals who in some way benefit from their implementation. Ultimately, it should be an economic and eugenic question. Does a proposition pay for itself, or otherwise have a positive effect on humanity? Empowerment is not a goal unto itself; if we empower people who will use their power for bad deeds, that is a net negative. Often, the elderly use accessibility to vote in ways that are self-serving which the rest of society will have to pay for long after they are gone, for example. If they had to rely on a younger relative to access their voting rights, they might feel indebted to that person and reconsider their position. The illusion of independence among disabled people, women, children, etc., is toxic and pervasive. The family unit should be emphasized if social stability is to be maintained over the long-term. Hyper-individualism is largely the result of an overly-easy life. A modicum of collective ideation can be achieved through mindful and relatively simple urban planning. Additionally, exclusion is not inherently undesirable. Exclusion has always been a fundamental characteristic of civilization, which serves to elevate it above the most crude ways of life and most inept potential members.

  24. As a disabled person, thank you.
    When you mentioned 'some people think it makes disabled people dependent on society' I want to add that EVERYONE is dependent on society. There are many design features which are considered 'standard' which actively make things easier for able people, unfortuatnely many of those things aren't accessible to us.
    For example able people do expect signs, but the signs are not readable to everyone.

  25. The fucking door knob thing is also just so annoying if your hands are slippery, when I've been abroad and like taken a bath it's so annoying that you can't because your hands are wet.

  26. As someone with PTSD designing quiet and calm environments can really help you calm down. The other day I had one of my worst breakdowns in a bathroom and I think the design of it heavily contributed. There was a constant loud AC on and the room had white tiled walls which were slightly reflective so the light wasn't calming but terrible. Everything about the room made it feel clinical which didn't help. And also I think everyone would agree that they'd be happy if cities and the environment in general weren't so loud. Like not only would it just be nice if there wasn't so much traffic noise in cities, it would probably also make them safer since you'd be better able to listen for dangers. Like if you're crossing a road and someone beeps at you to get out of the way, if there's a lot of traffic noise it might be hard to pick that out.

  27. There's a prominent grocery store near me with two revolving doors and four lever-handled doors—and only the revolving doors are unlocked from the outside (so people don't steal the carts, I think?). There's a button for wheelchair users, but I'm mostly able-bodied, and I cannot go through a revolving door. I can learn complex ballroom dance moves no problem, but I manage to get stuck in revolving doors. Accessibility lets me and other revolving-door-challenged people buy groceries.

  28. Thank you, but i also felt it was a bit long for saying not a whole lot.
    You also didn't say anything that wasn't common knowledge either, making the value of that 6 minutes speech even more apparent.

  29. I admit to using my mouth to open my door (we have levers in Germany). In USA, the knob is horrible when you get slippery hands.

  30. Also, the Quadrangle's Orientation markers painted on wall reminds me of DDR bunkers. They were so vast and complex, they had to paint colour-coded lines to indicate where things/areas were located.

  31. I can operate a lever-style door handle with my backside. (I'm tall enough and my backside fat enough.) But I've never yet been yanked to a halt by catching the belt loop of my jeans on a round door knob.

  32. I'm in my second year of architecture at uni and I've always found funny how there's absolutely no universal accessibility in my faculty, having multiple changes in level throughout the patios and generally tight walkways
    Some day some disabled kid will register and the teachers will freak out 😂

  33. As a Dane (a danish person) i have yet to encounter a round doorknob. It's one of those things you only see in movies to me.


  35. You should definitely check out this article if you are looking for an electric wheelchair, It helped me buy one, will surely help you too. https://www.azonvisor.com/electric-wheelchair/

  36. Freak forcing is the strategy of breaking and then rifling through fully established social groups, who take first dibs and cream of crops in gene pool, and leave refuse dejected and with a grudge.

    The great thing about this strategy, is the more solid and capable the network is, the more rigorous their demands are thus, the more disgruntled sidelined there will be.

    Buying these deficits at low cost, than plowing inordinate amounts of resources into them, to then send them back to wreak vengance on the peoples that rejected may be the oldest trick in the book. Called crowbars and base (camp) bats

    Doubly useful because you enter from the ground or sub-basement levels of targeted societies so that profit margins are high as you can only go upwards.

    This is also the reason why town and country folk do not mix. Because coastal peoples, bunched into cities, are displaced peoples roused away from bread baskets in hinterlands, where oldest seats of power are planted.

    Creating outflow of humanity (disorganized marriage and breeding) that congregate in coastal areas, where foreigners and infiltrators lure, entice, corrupt, and bind such people into all manner of subversive acts.

    This is the domain of religious groups, who have easy pickings and charitable wealth to organize and educate such groups, promoting in them similar values, and setting them down such paths all over again.

    prying and wedging themselves deeper and deeper into cores, until the planet is a succession of breakages, and these chain gangs still cannot stop. No longer even sure what they want, after they take control.

    Because their DNA and value system does not permit them to grow strong bases, that demand tough sacrifices and difficult decisions. Or else will only subvert self and others, as they serve as earth worms mulching and tilling the land

    Increasing porosity and permeability for next wave of infiltrators to swamp the land, but depriving nutrients or mismanaging resources, and then calling this system "fair go" or "equal opportunity".

    Note how the American civil right movement, degenerated into disco and ghetto culture in less than 2 or 3 decades after, Missionary movements cracked and weakened old boys clubs and power networks

    Stiff in old ways, where the screams of those they assign for abuse and exploitation, are heard from external groups. Signs that too much build up and weight is bearing down on the less valued within their established network.

    Calling for more cracking and free basing, freeing these trapped souls who are used as the tormentors and the tormented. Some having reached such depraved levels, they are literally writhing worms and maggots in the groupmind

  37. I am doing research on design for accessibility and came across yours. Really love your points made. Do you have any other references regarding design for accessibility that I can check out?

  38. My biggest pet peeve is when you're in a public space with a TV on, and there aren't subtitles. First of all, How do you expect people to watch it if the room gets loud? The worst cases are when the sound is off from the get-go, and subtitles still aren't added – Which kinda makes having the TV on in the first place a waste of resources. And I've not even mentioned how it'll help those who are Deaf or have other hearing impediments.

  39. The worst indoor design fail i encountered recently: Toilet for a 50 people office floor. There are 3 doors to actually reach a toilet, all of them open inward! First door leads to the washing room, second door to a hallway in front of the toilets, 3rd door the toilet door.. getting out of the toilet you have to touch all three handles! After you washed your hands you need to open the outside door inward as well.. They have paper towel dispencers in the washing room, however all of them are placed at least 4m away from the door, the single trashcan in existence where you put your used paper towels is 5m away from the door, so no chance opening that door with the paper towel and throwing it away afterwards.. B.t.w. there is a space next to the door which could easily be used for another trashcan..
    Srsly.. the architect of that toilet facility wasn´t thinking straight IMHO…
    B.t..w best solution i could think of: automatic sliding door between the washing / sink room and the outside, so no need to touch any door handles…

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