Inclusive restroom design redefines design standards

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Inclusive Restroom Design

Adriana Valdez Young, a front-runner in design research, is introducing groundbreaking projects in the graduate interaction design program. Among these strides is the development of an inclusive restroom design, promising a seismic shift for design standards. This inclusive concept aims to be functional for people of all abilities, ages, genders, and backgrounds, reflecting Young’s commitment to inclusivity and progressive design.

Young’s work embodies a compassionate and user-centric design approach, paving the way for what scholars refer to as “good design”. She strives for designs that are ethical, inclusive, and aesthetic, but also conducive to social equity and sustainable living. Her focus rests on the diverse needs of the users with the goal of making good design accessible to all.

This forward-thinking approach has seen Young collaborate with Pinar Guvenc from a notable international design firm. Together, they have developed the first comprehensive Inclusive Design curriculum for master’s level students in the US. This curriculum seeks to produce professionals who can design products and services catering to all people, regardless of age, ability, or status.

Departing from traditional design theories, the curriculum prioritizes the significant buying power of disabled consumers and evolves with changing consumer needs.

Redefining design through inclusive restrooms

The program emphasizes aesthetics, access, and usability for all products and services, marking a new era of taking into account diverse consumer needs.

The decision makers of the graduate Interaction Design Program highlight the critical aspects of design during periods of financial instability. Young asserts that the societal effects of a designer’s work cannot be ignored, regardless of whether they were part of an original design plan.

To foster creativity and face unintended design challenges, the design program advocates for inclusive and sustainable designs. It initiates with training future designers to broaden their design perspectives and to distance themselves from traditional design models. The curriculum continually encourages exploration of design with real-world scenarios, taking into account the influence of social, cultural, and economic factors.

Within the program, learning is seen as a life-long journey which heavily incorporates iterative design, involving repeated analysis and refinement. Emphasis is placed on the reflection of one’s practice, underscoring the need for steady improvement. Simultaneously, the students are taught ethical principles in design, with a perspective of considering the long-term impact on society and the environment.

In conclusion, a holistic approach that instils vital knowledge and skills is deployed, enabling the future designers to meet and exceed expectations, essentially contributing to a better-designed world. With practical projects such as redesigning professional studio bathrooms, the program provides real-world learning experiences to its students, further solidifying its stature in the realm of design.