Universal Design Tool: Putting People at the Centre of Design

Universal design tool

The Auckland Design Manual (ADM) team is excited to invite you to test drive their brand new tool.

The Universal Design Tool is a free resource that has been created to support architects and designers to take a more human-focused approach to design.

Universal Design is all about designing for human diversity, and making buildings and public spaces user-friendly and enjoyable for the widest range of people and abilities.

All people will have some kind of ‘universal design’ moment in their lives, where they find themselves potentially disadvantaged by their environment. It could be temporary, such as pregnancy or a broken limb; permanent, such as an ongoing disability; or something all humans experience, like growing up and growing old.

No one likes to be singled out as being different, and a universal design approach encourages people to design more cleverly, and implement design solutions that work for everyone.

The aim of the Universal Design Tool is to enable everyone to use and enjoy the built environment, by providing a library of real-life examples of universal design done well.

The tool focuses on Mixed Use and Public Buildings. It’s been created as a resource for architects and designers who want to increase their knowledge of universal design or are seeking inspiration on ways to make their own projects more inclusive and people-friendly.

The guidance steps you through the outside and surrounds and the inside of a building, and provides clear parameters on what a Universal Design response could look like. It also includes easy-to-follow diagrams and project-specific checklists.

All of the images are available to download, and can be freely used to inform project briefs and concept documentation through the design phase of a project.

Universal Design is already being adopted in Auckland – 80% of the photography in the tool has been sourced locally in Auckland. That said, Auckland still has some way to go and we believe many of Auckland’s great examples of universal design are yet to come.  For this reason, we’ll be continually updating the tool’s database over the coming years.  It’s all about sharing great local solutions for future local projects.

We need your help to make this tool a success

It is important to all of us that we get this tool right. Therefore, we are calling for feedback on the tool from the 8th of May until the 9th of June 2017. Help us to refine the user-experience and make sure it is developing into a useful resource for the architecture and design community.

If you have any questions or comments, or suggestions about what else can be included – we would love to hear from you!

Send your feedback through to: akdesignmanual@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz

Test-drive the tool today on your desktop or mobile: http://www.aucklanddesignmanual.co.nz/design-thinking/universal_design

Special thanks to all the members of the Universal Design Forum, who have helped to make this tool possible.

The Council’s Auckland Design Office has brought together a forum of organisations interested in accessibility, as well as New Zealand’s design and planning organisations including: Auckland Council’s Disability Advisory Panel, Auckland Transport, Attitude Live, Barrier Free NZ, Be. Accessible, Blind Foundation, Brain-Injury Association, CCS Disability Action, Hearing New Zealand, Lifemark, National Foundation for the Deaf, New Zealand Institute of Architects.

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