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Access by Design

This book is about universal design, not designing specifically for people with disabilities. Of course, universal design includes people with disabilities, as well as everyone else. Somewhere between a product catalog and a manifesto, this book highlights, shows off and generally extolls the virtues of designing products and spaces that are accessible to the largest group of people possible, preferably everyone. Of all the books I read this week on acceible design, this book was the easiest and most fun to read, as well as the best layed out and, well, designed.

The examples covered range from specific silverware, to signage for public areas, to office and home furnishings. Each chapter ends with a Check List of things to remember when trying to make a particular space accessible. The book includes futuristic prototype designs as well as items readily purchaseable at your average department store. Included amonng the plentiful photos and descriptions are the author’s “random thoughts on universal design” which drive the point home that design which is universal is useful for everyone. The tone is upbeat and positive and the scenarios they show look inviting and not quite as old-school as some of the other books.