Workplace Design Principles

A starting point for an evidenced-based design process

Universal Design in the Workplace: Common Design Flaws January 22, 2009

Filed under: Philosophical,Workplace Design — ia2studio @ 6:06 am
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When universal design is a top priority of your client it is imperative to gain an extensive knowledge of what constitutes a compliant workplace.  Standard accessibility dimensions can easily be retrieved from a book but there are some common designs flaws that even the skilled designer can overlook.

1.        It is typical for facility managers to standardize components to save money.  This means that many worksurfaces are actually mounted to the tops of file pedestals.  This cost-   saving solution can accommodate most workers but will cause accessibility compliance issues (Whitson).


2.        Access control systems device heights are commonly mounted too high to be universally accessible (McPherson).


3.       Accessible parking spaces often do not have access aisles (Wilson).



McPherson, Ron. “ADA integration.” Buildings. 95.9 (September 2001): 26.

Whitson, Alan. “Feel the churn? Universal plan is one way to mitigate the cost of change.” Buildings. 91 (March 1997): 64

Wilson, Marianne. “ADA Myths Remain.” Chain Store Age. 82.1 (January 2006): 104.

Posted by Bret

Universal Design in the Workplace: Important Considerations January 21, 2009

Filed under: Philosophical — ia2studio @ 9:12 pm
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Of the many important considerations when implementing universal design into the workplace, the following considerations can add to the success of a design solution:

  • Eliminating client’s common perception that only individuals with disabilities can benefit from universal design.
  • Take special care to avoid lowering the feeling of independence or creating feelings of isolation in the individual requiring special accomodations as a result of their workstation location, appearance, etc.
  • Standards and regulations should not be considered sufficient in all cases. By learning about the abilities of the disabled individual and by considering standards as the minimum, the individual will be provided with a more accomodating environment.

Other useful references include:

Kelly II, Joseph Dennis. “Universal Design.” ICON 2004. 12-22. 21 Jan 2009 <;.

Posted by: Jenna Tharrett