#LetsMakeWednesdays – Let’s make our communities more accessible!



May 27, 2020

Making our world safe and inclusive to all people is a key part of design. This is called ‘accessibility’. For this week’s #LetsMakeWednesdays challenge, think about how you can design something in your home or your community to be more accessible There are lots of examples of accessible design that you come across every dayramps for wheelchair users, or machines that make sounds at street crossings to let blind and partially-sighted people know when it’s safe to cross. What could you design that helps make our communities more inclusive?  

Tactile paving slab
Tactile paving slab, Seiichi Miyake, designed 1965, Japan. Museum no. CD.154-2016. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

 #LetsMakeWednesdays 

Watch this video about a tactile paving slab to see how the designers made  the world more accessible to people with visual impairments

Let’s make our neighbourhoods accessible to everyone!  

Start by thinking about some of the challenges a person with a disability may face. For example, a person with hearing loss may not be able to hear a fire alarm alerting them to danger, or a wheelchair user may not be able to visit places that do not have ramps. Write down some of these ideas. Now, think about the places you visit: the shops, your school, your house. Think about the challenges that someone with a disability may face in these places.  

Can you design something to make sure everyone can enjoy their homes and communities? It could be something big, like a playground that includes wheelchair users, or an every-day object, like this cutlery set that features stabilising handles to help people who experience hand tremors.

Liftware utensils, Anupam Pathak, 2013. Museum no. CD.153:1 to 12-2016. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Make sure you keep the user at the centre of your design: is it easy for them to operate? How does it help users with a specific disability? Draw your design on a piece of paper, and think about the small details that will help make our homes and communities more inclusive.  

Let’s make games and toys more accessible! 

Think about some of your favourite things to do. It could be going to the park or playing a gameWhat games or toys can you invent that include everyone? Sometimes, by making small changes, designers can make sure everyone shares in the fun. For example, this Xbox videogame controller was made for people with limited mobility. The packaging was designed to be easily opened so someone with limited hand motion could open it themselves.

Xbox Adaptive Controller
Xbox Adaptive Controller, developed by Microsoft, 2018. Museum no. CD.39-2018. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The controller also features two large buttons that can be programmed for the different needs of the user. It was designed by Microsoft, who worked closely with gamers who had limited mobility to make sure it could fit their needs. With this controller, more people can enjoy playing videogames. What can you design to make a game or a toy more accessible? Draw your invention on a piece of paper. You could even try to make a ‘prototype’ (a model of your invention) using things around your house (old cereal boxes, tin cans, etc) 

Remember to show us your designs on social media using #LetsMakeWednesdays!

 

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