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Updated on: 20th Apr 2023

HFS309 Universal Design SUSS Assignment Sample Singapore

The HFS309 Universal Design course offered by the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS). In today’s world, designing environments, products, and services that are accessible and inclusive for everyone is becoming increasingly important. Universal Design is a framework that aims to create products, systems, and environments that can be used by all people, regardless of their age, abilities, or disabilities.

This course will provide you with a comprehensive understanding of Universal Design and its application in various fields, including architecture, engineering, and product design. You will learn about the principles of Universal Design, the benefits of its application, and its relevance in today’s society.

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Here, we will describe some assignment briefs. These are:

Assignment Brief 1: Illustrate the diverse and varying needs of people and determining barriers of usability and accessibility to these groups of people.

The diverse and varying needs of people can be broadly classified into four categories:

  1. Physical needs: People with physical disabilities may require assistive technologies such as screen readers, alternative input devices, and mobility aids to access digital products. They may also require larger fonts, high contrast colors, and adjustable text size to improve readability.
  2. Cognitive needs: People with cognitive disabilities may require simplified language, visual aids, and intuitive navigation to access digital products. They may also require additional time to process information and may benefit from a clear and consistent layout.
  3. Sensory needs: People with sensory disabilities such as visual or hearing impairments may require alternative formats such as audio descriptions, transcripts, or captions to access digital products.
  4. Situational needs: People may have situational needs based on their context, such as accessing digital products on small screens or in noisy environments.

Determining barriers of usability and accessibility to these groups of people involves identifying the challenges and limitations that each group may face. Some common barriers include:

  1. Poor contrast and color choices that may make it difficult for people with low vision to read text.
  2. Complex navigation that may confuse people with cognitive disabilities or users who are not familiar with the product.
  3. Lack of alternative text for images, making it impossible for people with visual impairments to access the content.
  4. Inaccessible multimedia content that lacks captions, transcripts, or audio descriptions.
  5. Lack of keyboard navigation, making it difficult for people with mobility impairments to navigate the product.
  6. Poorly designed forms that may pose challenges for people with cognitive disabilities or those using assistive technologies.

To address these barriers, designers and developers must take into consideration the diverse needs of users and design products that are accessible and usable for everyone. This may involve conducting usability tests with diverse groups of users, implementing accessible design standards, and providing alternative content formats to ensure that all users can access the product.

 

Assignment Brief 2: Discuss the goals, principles, processes and applications of universal design.

Universal design is a set of principles and practices that aims to create products, environments, and services that are accessible and usable by everyone, regardless of their age, ability, or background. The goal of universal design is to create inclusive and equitable spaces that accommodate the needs of all people, without requiring special accommodations or modifications.

Principles:

  • Equitable use: the design should be useful and accessible to everyone, regardless of their abilities or disabilities.
  • Flexibility in use: the design should accommodate a wide range of preferences and abilities.
  • Simple and intuitive: the design should be easy to understand and use, regardless of the user’s experience, knowledge, language skills, or concentration level.
  • Perceptible information: the design should communicate necessary information effectively, regardless of the user’s sensory abilities.
  • Tolerance for error: the design should minimize hazards and the consequences of accidental or unintended actions.
  • Low physical effort: the design should require minimal physical effort to use.
  • Size and space for approach and use: the design should provide enough space for users to approach and use it comfortably and safely.

Processes:

  • Involving diverse users: the design process should involve people with different backgrounds, abilities, and preferences to ensure that the design meets the needs of a wide range of users.
  • Identifying barriers and opportunities: the design team should identify barriers that prevent access and opportunities to improve the design.
  • Providing multiple solutions: the design team should provide multiple solutions to address different needs and preferences.
  • Continuous feedback and improvement: the design team should receive feedback from users and stakeholders and continuously improve the design.

Applications:

  • Architecture and interior design: creating accessible and inclusive buildings, homes, and public spaces.
  • Product design: creating products that are easy to use and accessible to all users.
  • Information technology: creating software, websites, and apps that are usable and accessible to people with different abilities and preferences.
  • Transportation: creating accessible and inclusive transportation systems, vehicles, and infrastructure.
  • Education: creating inclusive and accessible learning environments, curricula, and teaching methods.

Overall, universal design seeks to promote diversity and inclusivity, and to eliminate barriers to access and participation. By considering the needs and preferences of all users, designers can create products, environments, and services that are functional, beautiful, and equitable.

Assignment Brief 3: Appraise the design of a product, service, system or environment in terms of equitable design, flexibility in use, simple and intuitive use, perceptible information, tolerance for error, low physical effort and size and space for approach and use.

When appraising the design of a product, service, system, or environment, it is important to consider the following principles:

  1. Equitable Design: The design should be accessible and inclusive to everyone, regardless of their abilities, disabilities, or age. It should consider the needs of a diverse range of users, including those with visual, auditory, motor, and cognitive impairments.
  2. Flexibility in Use: The design should accommodate a wide range of individual preferences and abilities. It should provide multiple ways of completing tasks, allowing users to choose the most appropriate method based on their abilities and preferences.
  3. Simple and Intuitive Use: The design should be easy to understand and use, without requiring a lot of prior knowledge or training. It should be designed with the user in mind, considering their goals and needs.
  4. Perceptible Information: The design should provide clear and concise information to the user, using multiple senses (e.g., visual, auditory, tactile) to convey information effectively.
  5. Tolerance for Error: The design should be forgiving of mistakes, allowing users to recover from errors easily and without negative consequences. It should provide clear feedback to users when errors occur, helping them to understand what went wrong and how to correct it.
  6. Low Physical Effort: The design should require minimal physical effort from the user, reducing the risk of fatigue or injury. It should be designed with ergonomic principles in mind, considering the user’s posture, movement, and physical capabilities.
  7. Size and Space for Approach and Use: The design should provide sufficient space and clearance for the user to approach and use the product, service, system, or environment comfortably. It should accommodate a range of body sizes and abilities, allowing users to move around freely without feeling cramped or restricted.

By considering these principles, designers can create products, services, systems, and environments that are accessible, usable, and inclusive to a wide range of users.

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Assignment Brief 4: Demonstrate understanding and ability to apply Universal Design in products, services, systems and environment.

Universal Design is an approach to creating products, services, systems, and environments that can be used by as many people as possible, regardless of their abilities or disabilities. The goal is to create inclusive design that benefits everyone, not just a specific group.

Here are some ways in which Universal Design can be applied:

  1. Products: When designing products, designers should consider the needs of all potential users. This includes ensuring that the product can be used by people with different physical abilities, as well as those with different cognitive and sensory abilities. For example, designing a phone with large buttons and text that is easy to read, or a kitchen utensil with a comfortable grip for people with limited dexterity.
  2. Services: When designing services, companies should consider the needs of all customers. This includes ensuring that services are accessible to people with disabilities, such as those with hearing or visual impairments. For example, providing sign language interpreters or captioning for deaf customers, or providing braille and large-print materials for customers with visual impairments.
  3. Systems: When designing systems, such as software or websites, designers should ensure that they are accessible to everyone. This includes designing for keyboard-only navigation, providing alternative text for images, and ensuring that the website or software is compatible with assistive technologies such as screen readers.
  4. Environment: When designing environments, such as buildings or public spaces, designers should consider the needs of all users. This includes designing for wheelchair accessibility, providing clear signage for people with cognitive impairments, and ensuring that lighting and acoustics are suitable for people with sensory impairments.

Assignment Brief 5: Recommend design strategies to improve or enhance a product, service, system or environment’s usability or accessibility.

There are many design strategies that can be used to improve the usability or accessibility of a product, service, system or environment. Here are some of the most effective strategies:

  1. Conduct user research: Before designing anything, it’s important to understand who your users are and what their needs and preferences are. Conducting user research can help you identify usability or accessibility issues early on and design a solution that meets the needs of your target audience.
  2. Use clear and simple language: Use clear and simple language in all communication to ensure that users can easily understand the information being presented. Avoid using jargon, technical terms or complex language that may confuse users.
  3. Provide clear navigation: Navigation should be intuitive and easy to use, allowing users to easily find what they’re looking for. Use clear labels, hierarchical structures, and consistent placement of navigation elements.
  4. Ensure consistency: Consistency is key to creating a user-friendly experience. Ensure that all elements within a product, service, system or environment follow a consistent design language and interaction pattern.
  5. Use appropriate color contrast: Make sure that text is easy to read by using appropriate color contrast. The contrast between text and background should be sufficient to ensure readability.
  6. Provide alternatives: Ensure that users have alternative ways to access the same information or functionality. For example, providing alternative text descriptions for images or audio transcripts for videos can make your product, service, system or environment more accessible to users with disabilities.
  7. Use responsive design: Ensure that your product, service, system or environment is optimized for different screen sizes and devices, allowing users to access your content from any device.
  8. Conduct usability testing: Regularly conduct usability testing to identify usability issues and gather feedback from users. This feedback can be used to make iterative improvements to your design.

By incorporating these design strategies, you can improve the usability and accessibility of your product, service, system or environment, creating a better experience for your users.

Assignment Brief 6: Determine a built environment’s Universal Design Score.

To determine a built environment’s Universal Design Score, you can use the following steps:

  1. Assess the environment’s accessibility: Look at the entrances, exits, and circulation areas, such as hallways and stairways, to determine if they are easy to navigate for people with mobility impairments. Consider the width of doors and hallways, the presence of stairs or elevators, and the presence of obstacles such as steps or curbs.
  2. Evaluate the environment’s adaptability: Consider whether the environment can be easily modified to meet the needs of people with varying abilities. For example, are there adjustable height counters or grab bars in restrooms? Are light switches and other controls within reach of people in wheelchairs?
  3. Check for safety features: Look for safety features such as handrails, slip-resistant surfaces, and adequate lighting.
  4. Examine the usability of the environment: Consider whether the environment is easy to use and navigate for people with varying abilities. This can include things like signage, color contrast, and clear pathways.
  5. Review the environment’s inclusivity: Finally, consider whether the environment is welcoming to people of all abilities, cultures, and backgrounds. This can include features like diverse seating options, accessible restrooms, and clear communication.

After assessing each of these criteria, assign a score for each one based on a predetermined scale. For example, you could use a scale of 1-5, with 1 indicating poor accessibility or inclusivity and 5 indicating excellent accessibility or inclusivity. Once you have assigned a score for each criterion, calculate the average score to determine the environment’s Universal Design Score.

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