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Accessibility

Page history last edited by PBworks 14 years ago

Although this isn't quite sufficient to get the wider discussion moving, starting here with some informative links and thoughts would be good. TaraHunt

 

For coworking, usability or universal design is a good way to look at accessibility.

 

Universal design is the notion that we should design products, buildings, Web sites, and just about anything else so that the greatest number of people can use them easily, irrespective of disablity or limitation. One of the most common examples of universal design are OXO kitchen tools. The first was a swivel peeler designed by Sam Farber for his wife who has arthritis. The design made the peeler so easy to use it became a best seller with everyone. Another is the curb cut or curb ramp. Originally designed by wheelchair users to provide access from the street to sidewalks, they proved useful for baby carriages, delivery carts, skateboards, and any other wheeled device.

 

The concepts and designs are being driven by the aging baby boomers in the US and an older population in Japan. Both those groups resist design that appears medical or disability-related. Good universal design is unobtrusive and often elegant looking.

 

Because the housing stock in the US is ill-conceived for people with mobility limitations there is more and more focus on usable or universally designed houses and apartments. Much of that research is helpful when setting up a new work space. Typically designs for accessible work space only use employment law as its basis, such as the US ADA Accessibility Guidelines. While important, universal design takes a more inclusive approach. Both are useful.

 

Here are a few resources to explore:

 

The Center for Universal Design, http://www.design.ncsu.edu/cud/, at North Carolina State University is where it all started with Ron Mace. They have extensive resources.

 

Adaptive Environments, http://www.adaptenv.org/ in Boston has considerable resources to review.

 

An off shoot of universal home design is visitability—the notion that all housing should have minimum accessiblity. Concrete Change, http://www.concretechange.org/, is at the center.

 

This is a start. The community should decide how this kind of inclusion fits into coworking. Anthony Tusler