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Evaluating universal design in built environments - a scoping project

conference contribution
posted on 2018-01-01, 00:00 authored by Valerie WatchornValerie Watchorn, Cathryn Grant, Richard TuckerRichard Tucker, Danielle HitchDanielle Hitch, Patsie FrawleyPatsie Frawley, Susan Ang, Kathryn Aedy, Apeksha Gohil
This project aimed to scope existing methods of evaluating the application of universal design to built environments and to explore relevant knowledge of key stakeholders, such as architects, access consultants and people who experience disability. The project commenced in 2017. Ethics approval was gained and a mixed methods approach was employed. Methods of data collection included electronic survey and in-depth interview. Early survey findings are reported in this paper. A descriptive approach was used to analyse quantitative data. A total of 157 survey responses were received from across Australia (83%) and internationally (16.6%). Preliminary findings indicate that most survey respondents (72%) had been involved in the process of applying universal design to the design of built environments. Although evaluating the application of universal design was rated as "extremely important" by 85% of respondents, only 36% had such experience. Of these, 74% had used specific tools for this purpose. Non-standardised checklists and access audits were the most frequently used and preferred tools. Overall, stakeholders perceived themselves to have 'some knowledge' on universal design theory and application. This project offers insight into how universal design is understood and applied to the design of built environments. Findings suggest that evaluation is less common than application and that there is a need to strengthen existing methods of evaluation to provide greater detail on universal design processes and outcomes.



Universal Design and Higher Education in Transformation. Congress (2018 : Dublin, Ireland)




Studies in Health Technology and Informatics


689 - 695


IOS Press


Dublin, Ireland

Place of publication

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Start date


End date









This article was also published in Studies in health technology and informatics, v.256, pg.689-695, 2018

Publication classification

E1 Full written paper - refereed

Copyright notice

2018, The authors and IOS Press

Title of proceedings

UDHEIT2018 : Transforming our World Through Design, Diversity and Education : Proceedings of the Universal Design and Higher Education in Transformation Congress