Impartiality expands on the idea of flexibility. Being impartial is an intentional effort to create a design for a place, product, or program that isn’t specific for one demographic. This means that there isn’t a requirement for a person to have certain abilities to access, manipulate, or understand something.
There shouldn’t be a requirement for a person to have certain abilities to access, manipulate, or understand something.Think about the places we go. Universal design removes segregation, which believe it or not, still exists today. People should not be forced to take an alternate route to navigate a location, or maybe sit in a designated area, just because of a physical disability. “Accessible” entrances or paths are helpful, sure, but they are segregating and stigmatizing, often drawing attention to one’s limitations. Why? Think about who gets the privilege of using them: people who are different from the majority.
The basis of universal design is understanding that everyone has a different definition of “normal,” and then finding ways to make things work the same way for the greatest number of people. This means building in provisions that extend the same function, required effort, ability to be understood, safety, security, and privacy to anyone. Places, products, programs – the idea behind it is still the same.
The easy association to make here is access for wheelchairs, which is probably the best starting place when being welcoming to those with physical disabilities. Think about it. If your space can accommodate a wheelchair, which means having a step-less entry, routes that don’t have an unsafe approach (i.e., too steep of a slope and/or uneven surfaces), and plenty of room to move around without bumping into things, then there’s a pretty good chance that people who fatigue easily or rely on support from other mobility devices (e.g., walkers, canes) will have no problem with access.
Think about how things can be reached, seen, and used, no matter if someone is sitting down or standing up.It’s not just about getting inside, though. Think about how things can be reached, seen, and used, no matter if someone is sitting down or standing up. People with visual or hearing impairments may need different cues to help them figure out where to go and what to do. Individuals with cognitive impairments may benefit from staff members who understand that it might take a little longer to process information, or know that the amount of sensory stimuli can have an effect on communication styles.
If you’re going to offer something to the public, consider how the design can be impartial, welcoming the greatest number of people.Now, there are bound to be some questions going through your mind about impartiality. We don’t hold the position that everything has to be impartial, specifically when it comes to programs (for example, competitive events or sports). There are some things in life that people participate in because they’ve spent a lot of time developing a specific skill that other people haven’t. We commend that, and certainly don’t discourage it. However, if you’re going to offer something – anything – to the public, we want you to truly consider how the design can be impartial, welcoming the greatest number of people.[bookpagefooter]