Blue and white hearing loop logo.

What is Universal Design? Universal Design is a process of thinking, practicing, and creating an inclusive world. The result is a product or an approach that is convenient, easy, and pleasant to use by all people.

Who does it benefit?

Regardless of age, gender, or ability, Universal Design aims for inclusivity. The curb ramps of a sidewalk are a great example of an accessible product of universal design. They make it easier to push a stroller or trolley, ride a bike or scooter, and use a wheelchair or walker. Many university lecturers now use hearing loops to capture sound and broadcast signals direct to hearing aids, while filtering background noise during learning. Lecturers can use the loop regardless of who is in the room, enabling everyone to participate equally and independently. More theatres and cinemas have applied hearing loops during screening too! See below if your local theatre or cinema uses a hearing loop! 

Curb ramp as an example of universal design.

The inclusive design of these products is convenient, safe, and accessible for all users. It is not catering to specific groups on a needs-based basis; Universal Design is for everyone!

How can I use Universal Design?

We can all encourage Universal Design in our workplace, school, or recreational space by considering these 8 goals:

  1. Body fit (accommodating a range of abilities)
  2. Comfort 
  3. Awareness (information is clear, regardless of sensory ability)
  4. Understanding (usage is easy)
  5. Wellness (it is always safe)
  6. Social integration (it is respectful for all)
  7. Personalization (allows the opportunity for individual preferences)
  8. Cultural appropriate (respectful across social values and contexts)

These goals can also redesign existing products to make them more approachable and inclusive. There are free online courses on Universal Design at OpenLearning.

Planning a conference, or hosting a play or musical? Encourage inclusivity by hiring out a hearing loop at Hearing Connections or Clearasound!

 

Theatres and cinemas that use hearing loops:

NSW

Capitol Theatre
Event Cinemas Beverly Hills
Event Cinemas Glendale
Event Cinemas Hurstville
Event Cinemas Liverpool
Event Cinemas Tuggerah
Sydney Lyric Theatre
State Theatre

VIC

Arts Centre Melbourne
Comedy Theatre
Princess Theatre
Regent Theatre 

SA

Event Cinema, Marion

WA

Crown Theatre Perth
Event Cinema, Morley

 

Information sourced from

Centre for Universal Design Australia

Centre for Inclusive Design

Point of View


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