Interested in inclusive design? If you’re a wheelchair user, the University of NSW wants to hear from you

Young person in a wheelchair washing hands

Do you use a wheelchair in your daily life or for community access? When you are out and about, do you make use of public accessible bathrooms? The University of NSW are currently recruiting volunteers to participate in a study that’s examining space requirements of public accessible washbasins for wheelchair users.

The project aims to collect the information required to improve the usability of bathroom designs for wheelchair users and inform future changes to the Australian Standards and construction codes. Participants will need to attend a session at UNSW where they will participate in an interview, have a series of body and reach measurements taken and perform simulated tasks.

More information can be found on this flyer:

More about the Livability Lab

The project is being run by UNSW’s Livability Lab, which pioneers inclusive design using cutting-edge technology such as motion capture and biomechanical analysis software to analyse the barriers to accessibility in the built environment.

The Lab is run by Professor Catherine Bridge who claims that current assumptions about design prevent the built environment from being truly inclusive.

What is inclusive design?

As we explored in our recent blogs on inclusive playgrounds, theatre experiences and sensory inclusive experiences at sports events, there’s a huge difference between inclusive design and accessibility. These days, having inclusion as the foundation of design practices has become a universal concept. The perspectives and lived experience of people with disability are essential to the best practice of inclusive design, as ‘nothing about us without us.’ Inclusive design is not about finding a one-size-fits-all solution. Rather, it’s about designing a diversity of ways to participate to enable everyone to have a sense of belonging. 

Inclusivity helps to create sustainable, future-proof environments

Professor Bridge from UNSW is also interested in how inclusive environments can be built that are also sustainable, in that they consider the needs of all people as they age. She’s also a Director of the Home Modification Information Clearinghouse (HMInfo), an information service which translates the research into practical advice for consumers seeking information on home modifications. 

Factsheets available on the site cover a range of specific topics, from information on how to tackle DIY modifications to the pros and cons of ramps or lift installation in the home, or getting permission from a home owner to make a modification.

If you would like to learn more about how to get involved in the project, you can email Kimberley Andersen at the Livability Lab LivableBathrooms@unsw.edu.au or phone 9385 0711