One Hundred Days: Day Twenty-Six
Architects and Designers who design for accessible design should spend at least a couple of days in a wheelchair! After spending a month tooling around at home, staying in a hotel and visiting Seattle Orthopedic Center I’ve come the conclusion that in real terms as to what a person needs, some ADA designed spaces fall short!
My home which was not designed with accessible design as a focus, but was designed to embrace both form and function appropriate for our lifestyle is way better than any of the public spaces I visited. I might have changed a couple of things in my kitchen, only a couple if I were designing specifically for accessible. However, I am able to maneuver and perform just about all the tasks I need to make a meal for the two of us, and serve coffee to friends, all from my wheelchair! The same is true for the rest of my home, including the bathrooms with shower curbs omitted; the way we have designed showers for years!
It was quite a different experience at the Watertown hotel near UW where I spent the night before my surgery. They assured me on the phone that I would have no issues arriving in a wheelchair and staying in one of their dedicated ADA compliant rooms.
The parking garage disabled parking spaces were several spaces up hill from the elevator, and were challenging for me to get into my chair and out of the car. The large concrete lump on the floor just before reaching the elevator was quite unnerving!!
There wasn’t enough room ahead of the commode for easy access.
The shower looked really good though I didn’t try it.
The vanity and wash basins in a walkway between bedroom and bathroom were just too high for comfort and from my low chair vantage point the mirror were hidden; great if I stood up I could see myself. One could easily collide with the sharp corner of the vanity shelf, just too large a scale considering the “hallway” space
It was near impossible to find a way to get into one of the queen sized beds without removing a desk and arm chair.
Since I am totally new to all this, are others finding the same issues?
I’ve visited Seattle Orthopedic Center in Wallingford several times before, during and after my ankle surgery. This is the kind of facility you would expect would cater to people with limited mobility and arriving in a wheelchair.
My issue was with the restroom even after I was directed to try the Men’s as it had more space to accommodate !!! There was no way anyone had thought through the process of actually using the restroom if you were in a wheelchair. I’ll leave it at that!
Conclusion: What I’d heard online from time to time about more thought needed to design user friendly options for those with limited mobility and accessibility is certainly true…….but I would never have known what this means if I had not broken my ankle!
Challenge: How do we get designers to experience what I am experiencing….
Interesting Read: Attacking Alzheimer’s with ultrasound
Previous posts in case you are inclined to read them are below
Architects and Designers who design for accessible design should spend at least a couple of days in a wheelchair! After spending a month tooling around at home, staying in a hotel and visiting Seattle Orthopedic Center I've come the conclusion that in real terms as to what a person needs, some ADA designed spaces fall short!