Euan and Kiki MacDonald – Design and disabled access



November 3, 2017

Disabled access review site Euan’s Guide has been designed to take away the fear of the unknown, giving people the confidence – and inspiration – to try new places.

The site was established by brother and sister Euan and Kiki MacDonald in 2013 after Euan became a powerchair user. They struggled to find disabled access information, spending hours searching for reliable reviews.

This led to the idea for Euan’s Guide, which is now a digital charity focused on making towns and cities accessible to any disabled person.

“Every venue is different, and this means that there is little consistency in how easy it is to find disabled access information before visiting somewhere new,” says co-founder Kiki, with the charity’s own research in 2016 finding only 18% of people think disabled access information on the websites of venues and visitor attractions is both accurate and helpful.

“Having a listing and reviews on Euan’s Guide can help potential new visitors know what to expect before visiting,” Kiki adds. They have found this to be particularly important, with 93% of the people they surveyed stressing the importance of trying to find information before visiting somewhere for the first time.

“A lack of good disabled access information means that many disabled people will return only to places which they know are accessible,” she says. “While it’s nice to have favourites, it can be very limiting and increasingly boring to only ever go to the same place with friends.”

The guide has quickly become popular, and a hugely important resource for disabled people across the UK who can share their own experiences – and gather useful, relevant information from other people’s experiences before visiting a new venue. International venues have now also started adding their information.

“It can take just one review on Euan’s Guide to give somebody the confidence and knowledge they need to visit somewhere new,” Kiki adds. “We do feel very proud about this, and love to see our reviewers reaching out to one another to discover new accessible places to go.”

The charity is expanding its work in 2018, partnering with VisitScotland to create “three unique guides to locations around Scotland with access information and highlights for disabled visitors exploring the country”, including Dundee, Fife, and Scottish castles and battlefields.

“Good design is important for communication, and where accessibility is concerned design can make or break a person’s experience,” Kiki says, with the Euan’s Guide team excited by the work of the Wellcome Collection in London to “regularly design accessible events and talks for visitors” and Seven Stories in Newcastle to “create beautiful sensory backpacks for children to fully explore and interact with the centre”.

The team are also excited to see V&A Dundee open next year. “We’re delighted to see this museum coming together in the city, especially as we will be launching our new Dundee guide in 2018!” Kiki adds.

We are delighted to welcome Euan and Kiki to our Design Champions, in recognition of how they’ve designed a powerful digital solution that is improving the lives of disabled people across the UK.

To find our more, please visit the Euan’s Guide website.

The V&A Dundee Design Champions are inspirational designers creating high-quality work and helping to enhance people’s lives, or champions of the power of design to improve the world.

We will announce 50 Design Champions in the run-up to the museum opening on Saturday 15 September 2018.

#VADchampions

V&A Dundee’s Design Champions project is working with Dezeen as its media partner.

Dezeen is the world’s most popular and influential architecture and design magazine, with an audience of 2.5 million unique visitors each month. 

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