why you need an accessibility consultant

Accessibility is known to be mandatory for public buildings and buildings with public access.

It is often mistakenly assumed that this refers to wheelchair accessibility, but of course it goes far beyond that.

About 30 % of the German population (and this is calculated conservatively) are not within the „norm range“ of DIN, but depend on accessibility of various kinds. These 30% are extremely diverse. This shows that attention is required if one does not want to risk that many people feel excluded or are actually physically excluded. In the ideal case, however, we are not talking about corrections or additions being adapted retrospectively, but about an awareness being developed during the design process in order to produce good, aesthetic and impeccable „design for all“.

Of course, we know accessibility in everyday life without perceiving it: The seat and steering wheel position of a car can be changed for accessibility only. The typewriter, the straw, the bicycle, the touch screen, the pizza cutter, audio books and much more are based solely on considerations to support people with handicaps in an activity.

Barrier-free designs do not require any compromises in aesthetics (unfortunately this is a widespread prejudice). Accessibility is not ugly but a concept and design tool and design basis.

My task is to be a motivating contributor of ideas and a point of contact between clients, architects, interior, product and graphic designers, who has an eye on the diversity of the people out there and thus makes comprehensive solutions possible. Ideally, I’m involved in the design process at an early stage in the meetings – to bring in the idea and the enthusiasm for the project. A kick-off meeting to raise awareness in advance makes a lot of sense. During the actual implementation there are always a lot of questions and a learning process starts.

Factors for accessibility are cognitive understanding, optics and blindness, age, mobility, height, acoustics and hearing impairment or deafness, mobility, phobias, orientation and much more. Of course, this also applies to living spaces, housing estates, public squares and parks, museums and exhibitions, schools, event rooms, malls, hospitals and much more.

I hope to have clarified the idea and the background. Design and architecture without this background is not really possible and is hardly welcomed in the current competitions.

Therefore every architecture and design office needs knowledge and empathy to create good solutions.

Current references:

  • Museum Lichtenberg;
  • Senate of Berlin, public park and nature park exhibition;
  • German Museum of Technology, accessible art education,
  • AOK Nordost, accessibility and orientation system in counselling centres and medical centre;
  • Prevention centre VBG BGW Hamburg Accessible guidance and orientation system;

Consulting mandate for the new construction of the VBG BGW Prevention Centre in Hamburg

Architektursimulation

(Foto: Auer Weber Assoziierte)

The Ippolito Fleitz Group GmbH Identity Architects commissioned Steffen Zimmermann as a consultant for accessibility for the planning and design of the new centre of excellence in Hafencity of the two associations VBG and BGW

The new centre is to be a beacon project for accessibility and future and trend-setting preventive work.

The Berufsgenossenschaft für Gesundheitsdienst und Wohlfahrtspflege (BGW) and the Verwaltungs-Berufsgenossenschaft (VBG) are the building owners and operators in Hamburg HafenCity. From 2022, they intend to launch new qualification, event and consulting services there, among other things, and make it possible to experience both healthy and safe working in theme worlds. The two associations are two of the largest in Germany.

Inclusion is a priority right from the conceptual approach

The building is to be highly accessible and exemplary in the way that training institutions can be designed to be inclusive. In addition to model workplaces, the planned Prevention Centre will feature theme worlds and exhibitions that make the prevention of occupational accidents, occupational diseases and work-related health hazards tangible. The services will also be available in part to the general public. In addition, individual advice and training for insured persons with work-related health problems is planned. My expertise is particularly evident in the orientation and guidance system as well as in the information services, whether digital, passive or active. This also applies to the revision of the house font for a tactile typeface, which is used in the guidance system as a raised relief font. Furthermore, all elements of the system are equipped with Braille (braille for blind visitors) and high-contrast large print. Orientation in the building and guidance through the building is supported by a floor guidance system. Everything is wheelchair accessible and conveniently accessible for people of all ages.

Untersuchungen zeigen, dass inklusives Design die Kundenreichweite um das Vierfache steigern kann

Studien, die vom Centre for Inclusive Design in Zusammenarbeit mit Adobe und Microsoft durchgeführt wurden, haben ergeben, dass Produkte und Dienstleistungen, die auf die gesamte Breite der Bedürfnisse von Menschen zugeschnitten sind, das Vierfache der Zahl der Nutzer erreichen können.

Inklusionsdenken früh in die Konzeptphase einbeziehen, verhindert Zusatzkosten

„Untersuchungen zeigen, dass inklusives Design die Kundenreichweite um das Vierfache steigern kann“ weiterlesen

AOK Nordost builds on inclusion - consulting contract

Who if not the AOK? All future buildings and conversions of AOK counselling centres will be considerably more barrier-free than all previous ones. As a consultant, I will accompany this transformation. In future, all aspects of accessibility will be considered, expertly discussed and, if possible, implemented at every location. We are talking about the whole canon of possibilities for accessible construction, design and service. What is planned today will be implemented in a few years in over 100 counselling centres.

The „Centrum für Gesundheit“ in the Müllerstraße in Berlin will be a unique project in Germany. This medical and consulting center will be implemented – supported by the Executive Board – as a lighthouse project for inclusion and accessibility. 

It pays to be involved as a consultant in the projects as early as possible. The early planning phase for architects, interior designers and graphic designers is the best time to get started. Here, thinking can be steered in the right direction without additional costs and decisions can be corrected before implementation.

Humboldt-Forum beauftragt inklusive Exponate für die Dauerausstellung „Berlin und die Welt“

Gemeinsam mit dem Stadtmuseum entwickelt die Kulturprojekte Berlin GmbH eine Ausstellung über Berlin und die Welt im Humboldt Forum.

Auf einer Fläche von 4.000 qm verknüpft die Berlin-Ausstellung anhand verschiedener Themenaspekte die internationalen Verflechtungen der Stadt und befragt ihre Vergangenheit und Gegenwart. Im ersten Obergeschoss des wiederaufgebauten Stadtschlosses fügt sich die Berlin-Ausstellung räumlich wie inhaltlich als Bindeglied im Humboldt Forum ein. Sie soll zeigen, wie die Welt Berlin beeinflusst, aber auch, wie Berlin auf die Welt wirkt.

Einzelne Ausstellungsflächen werden Künstler*innen, Vereinen und Initiativen für themenspezifische Präsentationen zur Verfügung gestellt.
Zum Anschauen, Anfassen und Zuhören entwickelt, wird die Ausstellung auch integrative und partizipative Elemente einschließen, die Besucher*innen teilhaben lassen.

Für die Entwicklung dieser Stationen, die als inklusive Ereignisse für alle geplant sind, wurde ich beauftragt. Die Vermittlung mit allen Sinnen für ein großes Publikum soll in dieser Ausstellung eine besondere Rolle spielen.

Instant audio guide. Information on the object itself provides orientation and information for everyone

TellDing ist ein "instant Audioguide" und Orientierungssystem in einem.

TellDing® is a system that provides visitors to a building or exhibition with individually adapted information about the object via audio. This audio information can also be used for orientation towards the object. An elevator or a staircase will therefore speak „Stairs to floors 2 to 8“ from any distance that can be preset. A blind visitor can then orientate himself and move precisely. More information at TellDing.de

TellDing is an „instant audio guide“ and orientation system in one.

Hidden or exposed, it uses a proximity sensor to provide information in the language and depth of the visitor’s individual needs.

TellDing as an orientation system provides blind visitors with acoustic guidance to the object.

Auszeichnung durch den Bundespräsidenten Frank Walter Steinmeier

Ich freue mich, daß heute meine Initiative #goinclusive auch von ganz oben, also vom Bundespräsidenten anerkannt wird und ausgezeichnet wurde.

Gutes Design, gute Architektur, gute Wissensvermittlung ist immer für ALLE Anwender verständlich und nutzbar. Dazu haben wir (schweizergestaltung, Werk5 und ich) uns zusammengeschlossen und beraten und unterstützen Unternehmen, Designer, Museen, Institutionen, Produkthersteller und die Politik dabei, diese Aspekte ohne ästhetische oder inhaltliche Abstriche umzusetzen.

Auszeichnung: ausgezeichnete orte

Was sind rote Zugänge? Lernen Sie mit und helfen Sie mit.

Screen-Shot Wheelmap

Design for All, das bedeutet schlicht Nutzbarkeit von Design, Produkten und Architektur. Man denkt, das sei Standard, aber weit gefehlt! Nicht jeder Kreative und Architekt denkt an alle Nutzer. So kann man auf der Wheelmap sehen, welche Orte nicht für → alte Menschen, → Kinderwagen, → Lieferanten und → Rollstuhlfahrende geeignet sind. Zum Glück sieht man auch die, die erreichbar sind. Das ist der Sinn der Wheelmap. Darunter sind auch so existenzielle Orte wie → Schulen, → Supermärkte, → Ärzte und → Behörden.