Good design enables, bad design disables

We all hate politcians and on this side of the pond Eurocrats but I was browsing the European Union site this afternoon (Monaco Grand prix was a foregone conclusion after the first corner – Well done Jenson) so I had to find something to do.  Could have gardened, cleaned the car but not in the 30+ degree heat over here in Kefalonia – easier to sit by the air con and work keeping cool.

Anyhow, I found a link that I knew was there but for the life of me I could never find it. – Have bookmarked it now. It is called Design for All (DfA).  It also has a link to the The European Institute for Design and Disability

Soon after its establishment in 1993, the European Institute for Design and Disability (EIDD) developed the mission statement: “Enhancing the quality of life through Design for All”. and on 9 May 2004 adopted a simple protocol – The EIDD Stockholm Declaration© – Guess it was done in Stockholm.

Anyhow the declaration has a simple “tag line” –“Good design enables, bad design disables”

Visit the EIDD site and you will find an interesting brochure called Liberate diversity! – you can download it

It opens quite simply :

Average people do not live in an apartment building. They don’t travel on the subway. They don’t use the stairs or the elevator. No matter where we look we will not find the average person. Simply because the average person does not exist. No one lives in a 2.3 room apartment, takes 3.7 trips per year or has 1.7 children. Those figures only exist in the statistics.

It also has some interesting statements about Design for All

  • is design for human diversity based on the principle of inclusion (from the EIDD Stockholm Declaration©).
  • is an attitude and a process that emanates from all conceivable users.
  • is when everything created by people to be used by people works equally well for everyone.
  • offers alternatives for usage: if you have difficulty reading, you should be offered another avenue, for example an auditory solution.
  • is when someone with limited physical strength or mobility can utilize environments, buildings, products, packaging etc.
  • is when you can get a twin-sized baby buggy into an elevator or public transportation. That makes more room for everyone.
  • is environments, services and products that are easy to use and understand.
  • provides more choices and more customer satisfaction.
  • is a creative challenge for all planners, architects and designers.
  • Design for All has roots both in Scandinavian functionalism in the 1950s and in ergonomic design from the 1960s.  There is also a socio-political background in Scandinavian welfare policies, which in Sweden in the late 1960s gave birth to the concept of “A society for all” referring primarily to accessibility. This ideological thinking was streamlined into the United Nations Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities, adopted by the UN General Assembly in December 1993.

Design for All is simply design at its very best.

The Stockhom Declaration ends like this:

The European Institute for Design and Disability therefore calls on the European institutions, national, regional and local governments and professionals, businesses and social actors to take all appropriate measures to implement Design for All in their policies and actions.

Is it not about time we all considered the Design for All principles? – think about it