Question 1 i) The current state and extent of universal design in the interior design practice. The 20th century had brought major social changes with respect to civil and human rights. Medical advances during this period meant that the surviving an injury or illness was far greater. Many people were living longer and the average life expectancy of people with severe impairments was increasing too. Therefore many governments in developed country responded with the introduction of equal rights and anti discrimination legislation to support this group of people especially in built environment (centre for excellent in UD, 2008).In line with that Malaysia’s government is also moving towards the same goal where the first action taken required a 1993 amendment in the Uniform building by-laws (UBBL) stated that new developments have need to incorporate universal design into the building plan. Similar action taken by the department of standards Malaysia, through SIRIM Bhd, on revising two of the existing Malaysian standards (MS) to enhance accessibility for all. They are ms 1184: 2002: code of practice for access of disabled persons to public buildings (first revision) and MS 1331: 2002: code of practice for access of disabled persons outside buildings (first revision).
After all, both had been merged into a new document called universal design and accessibility in the built environment: code of practice (second revision). Those amendments and revision is applicable to new and existing buildings. Under the amended UBBL, new developers had to comply with existing standards in order to improve universal access. As far as researcher concern, as stated by leader of revising Malaysian standard Asiah (2006), the revised standards is more toward guidelines on features, from traffic islands and footpaths to door handles and taps, referenced from international universal design standards in developed countries.
Which she acknowledged that it has been difficult to incorporate the desired features within existing buildings in Malaysia, but government stressed that the buildings should at least provide basic amenities, such as ramps and toilets for the disabled, and lifts with braille buttons for the blind, as well as voice activation (Asiah, 2006). On the other hand, from researcher observation those amendments and revising law and act are mean for public spaces and institution building which directly focusing on special group of users such as disable and older people.For that reason, therefore none or less interior designer sensitive or try to utilize the established regulation in their practice due to no enforcement from government. This was happen because the regulation and standard are mean or have been set up for special group of people only such as for disable people and more widely need to be implement in the public buildings only.
With this indication it showed that most designers and users are not ready to accept that accessible and usable features are for everybody and they tend to see those regulation and standard are something that will add the cost of the project.With this misconception, the interior design practice is hardly to be change because designers cannot relate about design and the nature of human being. Contrary with universal design (UD) approach that have been coin by Ron Mace that in designing for users, we should assumes the wide range of human ability is ordinary, not special (Ostroff, 2001). This is because, despite of disable and older people, users especially those used the interior space are not homogenous group which consist various physical abilities (Story and Mueller, 2002).This can be view from the world statistic that population today is much more broaden from the past, where many people survived from serious illness and accident. Furthermore the declining fertility and mortality rates are higher and it contributes to the increases of the world population. Therefore this shift of demographic change has a multifaceted impact on the society particularly in relation of use of the interior design. On the overview of Malaysia’s statistic in year 2005, Malaysia has been classified as an ageing nation (department of statistic, Malaysia 2006).
The number of elderly citizen rise to 1. 7 million (7. percent of the population) and by year 2020, Malaysia will be a mature society with 9. 5 percent of the population aged 60 and above (department of statistic, Malaysia 2000). This statistic means that 1. 4 million older people today will be more than double in their numbers in 16 years time. Those people are the “real users” and they are active person that used the interior space and demand the space to be support their daily activities through their life course. The phenomenon of changing physical abilities related to age and disabilities are something that everybody will experience during life course (Etchell and Yelding, 2004).
Therefore considering diverse users is significant in providing a better living space for all rather than segregated them. However, in interior design practice today, frequently designers are inclined to design for a stereotype of users that know as an “average people”. Which result the built environments means for users with specific ability range only that engage in specific lifestyles that prevent or limit the activities of others outside of the targeted group of inhabitants (Kreinbrook, 2007).
Nevertheless until today, through researcher observation the implementation of new regulation and standard specifically in interior design is still moving slow where many interior designers does not aware about the pertinent of utilizing and incorporate UD in design practice specifically during design process in accommodating diverse users. Through researcher observation and experience all this happen because of two major reasons; firstly because there is less sensitive responsiveness related to global issue such as on demographic change among interior designers.And the second factor is on the old school of thought in their design practice that have been pass from generation to the next generation which become a central root in designing. To be elaborate more on the first reason, researcher believed that demographic pattern is very essential for interior designer in order to understand the market demand in design. This is because from there on, the indicator of the “real users” can be established. From the “real users” indicator the solution and action during design process in creating a better living environment to all will be more sufficient and efficient in supporting their daily activities.The second reason that causes low interest on new design paradigm specifically UD is because of old school of thought among interior designer.
Conventionally, designers are still generalizes users into two different groups, such as “average” and “disable” people. With this point of view, design has been divided to standard practice and special design requirement practice where the UBBL and Malaysian standard is referred. Contrary meaning of UD which strives to be a broad-spectrum solution that helps everyone, not just people with disabilities.Moreover, UD recognizes a wide range of consumers and they try to include everyone in design.
The practice of UD as stated by kose (2009) have a holistic view that when considered disable or elderly person in design, it will benefit to others group of people too. Therefore by consider diverse users in design process, the usable and accessible living environment will be increases and no one is been excluded or segregate from the system. Furthermore, as stated by Imrie (2006) none of human being can be described as an average throughout life course.This is because people are growing older everyday, they become temporary disable because of sickness, accident, broken limb, serious illness and experience pregnancy (Imrie, 2006). Those changing physical criteria and abilities are describing a nature of human being no one has control on that. Beside the issue discuss above, if we look at the pattern of one living space in Malaysia it probably been occupied with minimum of or at least one family member.
Where the family members are consists of adult, children, and sometime been visit by their older parent or disable friend.Those indicators of various types of users are describing all of us that used the living environment. Parallel with commercial spaces too, which users and visitors are come in various size and physical abilities too. Those unexpected visitors will use the same living space and amenities with others.
In view of that, researcher understood it is inflexible to consider only specific group of users during design process where the world today is heading to universal solution in design for all people.Therefore an old school of thought specifically on the categories of users is insignificant anymore in today practice. Therefore, interior design field demands a revolutionize in designing and thinking to incorporate new design paradigm such UD as part of the practice in order to have an alternative way to switch over from old school of thought to new shift of thinking that respect diverse users. A consequence of looking holistically to “diverse users” in creating interior design is very significant in challenging the interior design practice today. Therefore this research is heading to.Yet through researcher experience, many of interior designers especially in Malaysia are still unaware about the impact of demographic change to the design industry especially in interior design. sadly, as reported by Harrison and Parker (2003), this is happen because there are deeply rooted problems in the minds of those responsible for the design of the built environment, where the inclusion of people-friendly features is visualize as a necessary but not serious attempt or late to be tacked-on in the design process that create an obstacles to utilize the living environment.
In addition, base on researcher observation, there are none or few of interior designers practice in Malaysia had considered diverse users (human diversity) during design process due to lack of knowledge and support. All this happen, because of there is no enforcement and less awareness among interior designers to see the relationship of nature changing on human being related to living environment that had highly impact on user’s daily activities performance.For that reason, a new shift of design thinking and practice in interior design need to appraisal in order to support a new trend of world population that approached a crossroad where the population of older peoples and disables are increased and this scenario included Malaysia too. As a result, with this stipulation, researcher believed the definition of users in design should be extended and includes a vast and diverse range of people that need to cope with or without extreme, unusual or unique daily challenges to use the living environment.
So, therefore this study tries to integrate UD in interior design process beyond the current database of anthropometric and ergonomic to comply with Malaysian law and act in built environment. The integration of UD in interior design process is more toward creating usable interior space, products, and systems that can be used by as many people as possible at their own choice or option of the operational in interior spaces.This is because UD is a user-centered process that evolves designers and users at broaden understanding, perspectives and experience by working with the range of users in a variety of environments. For that reason by emphasizing on careful selection and placement of the design features and product guided by UD principles will encourage more “choice” and “option” to user to use the space and product at their own level of physical abilities. This integration process may result as flexibility operational, and multiple alternative way or means to use the interior space that can support diverse users need.However, as stated by Guimaraes (2008) there is a challenger to include diverse users in design process because, both consumers and design professionals are not yet prepared to work continuously for development of new and more socially responsive structures.
Which many active adults in the work force are still reluctant to acknowledge the impact of such issues on their lives, and they are unwilling to assign personal attention and private resources to the development of usable environments where they live, work and spend their time with their families and friends (Guimaraes, 2008).Hence, the development of usable environments per say may not be a priority for many designers too, simply because they do not perceive disability as a problem for themselves (guimaraes, 2008). For that reason, researcher endeavor to incorporate diverse users as a main factor for UD integrated in interior design process. With that proposal it shows the significant transformation in design practice which indicates an interior design is about long term care of users rather than a short attempt at the prime time of life only.For the wrapping up, researcher concluded that the real end user can not be described either one of the group portray as an average or disable but it is the combination of population and more. As a fact of truth people are changing their physical and abilities every day due to growing older, yet their living environment are not changing toward their nature.
Therefore researcher has highly motivated to pursue this research by focusing on diverse users at the early stage of designing which may result a usable living environment for all people rather than segregated them.Hence, this complex issue had motivated researcher to investigate an alternative way in design process to maximize usable of the space for diverse users that may beneficial not only to targeted group but also to others that unintended to use the same living environment. For conclusion, by include as many people as possible in design process, it will make a practical and economic sense to all regardless their age and abilities. So that the final result of living environment can be use and access by all people at the same amenities with equal comfort regardless age and abilities.Furthermore by given a variety of choice or option of use and access the design features and product in interior design everybody have equal right to use and none have been excluded accept if the physical abilities is extremely low such paralyzed.
Those indication discuss above would be appropriate to be consider in design as early part as possible rather than to duplicate and separate circulation paths, vertical access, toilets and other facilities which required high cost in the projects.The bottom line of this research is to have all living environments that considered capable of being utilized by everyone, and necessity to provide for their differing needs simultaneously. ii) Literature evidence on the important UD theory that can improve the quality of everyday life of users. Over the last few years, the concept of universal design (UD) has become quite accepted. As a new way of thinking in design that driven from demographic trends.UD is a relatively new design paradigm that emerged from “barrier-free” or “accessible design” and “assistive technology”( Welch and Palames, 1995). The special about UD, it is differs from accessibility requirements that are usually prescriptive whereas UD is performance based (Story and Muller, 2000).
Furthermore, UD does not have standards or requirements but addresses usability issues for wide range of users as possible (Horton, 2005). Rather than focus on adapting new device or support for individuals at the later time (Horton, 2005).Therefore when designers apply UD principles in their design, the interior space and products and services meet the needs of potential users with a wide variety of characteristics (the center for universal design).
Disability is just one of many characteristics that an individual might possess (Burgstahler, 2012). In addition, barrier free design and assistive technology provide a level of accessibility for people with disabilities but they also often result in separate and stigmatizing solutions for others unintended users, for example, a ramp that leads to a different entry to a building than a main stairway (Parette and Scherer, 2004).Therefore, the movement of UD strives to be a broad-spectrum solution that supports everyone, not just people with disabilities (Stainfield, 2005). Furthermore UD is assuming a growing importance new design paradigm that represents a holistic and integrated approach to design ranging in scale, for example, from product design to architecture and urban design, and from simple systems such as those that control the ambient environment to complex information technologies (Ostroff, 2001).As a result, UD become an approach to the design of all products and environments to be usable by everyone, to the greatest extent possible, regardless of age, ability, or situation (Ostroff, 2001 ).
The ultimate goal of UD is to serves people who are young or old, with excellent or limited abilities, in ideal or difficult circumstances (Ostroff, 2001). Therefore UD become a very significant theory that can benefit everyone by accommodating limitations of the users.As the world’s population ages, so does the demand for senior to have an appropriate living environment, facilities, outdoor environments, and products. Therefore UD has been established by many professional which have a potential to address the needs of older clients yet benefit others too (Kemp, 2002). Contrary to the negative assumption that attention to the needs of diverse users limits good design, the experience of imaginative designers around the world reveals the range of applications that delight the senses and lift the human spirit when UD is integral to the overall concept (Imrie, 2006).For that reason UD is assuming a growing importance design paradigm which aims at a holistic and integrated approach to design, ranging in scale from product design to architecture, and urban design on one hand, and systems controlling the ambient environment and information technology, on the other (Imrie, 2006). Even though the terminology differs from one country to another; but there are significant cultural differences in how the movement has evolved in each country, but the similarities are more apparent than the differences as they transcend national laws, policies, and practices (Kelleher.J, levesque.
K, Coro. L, 2007). As stated by Steinfeld (2005) there is a confluence of factors generating the need for more universally designed products, environments and amenities, which includes the competitive, global nature of business today, the flourishing communications technology industry, the international disability movement, and the rapidly growing aging and disabled populations all over the world. Everyone is likely at some time to experience the misfit between themselves and their environment (Steinfeld, 2005 ).
Ambient conditions or stress may create problems with using products or buildings. Togetherness on increases of aging people which become a potential for vulnerability in the environment (Demirkan, Halime, 2007). People worldwide are living longer, the aging population will double in the next 20 years (Mc neil, 1997), and a child born today has a 50% chance of living to be 100 years old. This segment of the population assumes greater societal importance due to their increasing numbers as well as the resources they consume (Baltes & Smith, 2001).
Until recently, gerontological science, social policy and health policy have focused on extending life and supporting older age in terms of a society’s available resources (Baltes ; Smith, 2001). Maintaining such a focus on the older segment of the population obviously leaves a smaller percentage of resources for the remaining population (Baltes ; Smith, 2001 ). Moreover, the earlier phases of life may ultimately be the most important in terms of supporting health throughout the lifespan thereby conserving resources in later years (Baltes ; Smith, 2001).From the above literature it shows that UD is very relevant in understanding the needs of today’s users. The good point about UD is to increases usability, safety and health through the design and operation of environments, products and systems in response to the diversity of people and abilities. It is a way of thinking that can be applied in any design activity, business practice, program or service involving interaction of people with the physical, social or virtual worlds.To achieve UD goals, as stated by many researcher (Connell 1999, Jones 2003, Mace 1987, Mueller 2005, Mullick 2002, Ostroff 2001, Sanford, Steinfeld 2001, Story 2001, and Vanderheiden 2004) these are some attention that need to be include in design process to increase the quality of users life in prime time and the future too: Attention on users:- i.
body fit – accommodating a wide a range of body sizes and abilities ii. comfort – keeping demands within desirable limits of strength and stamina iii. wareness – insuring that critical information for use is easily perceived iv. understanding – making methods of operation and use intuitive, clear and unambiguous v.
social integration – treating all groups with dignity and respect vi. personalization – incorporating opportunities for choice and the expression of individual preferences vii. cultural appropriateness – respecting and reinforcing positive cultural values need some in put. The practice of UD is contextual.
There are no absolute levels of performance since each project context determines what can be achieved. It is a continuous improvement process. The practice of UD can take place regardless of constraints or the level of technology available. Thus, the success of each application has to be evaluated by comparison to prevailing norms rather than against an absolute standard. iii) Literature gaps that lead to enhance the UD application for the future of the interior design practice.In the last decades, there was a growth in the number of the elderly population and disabled people.
World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that the world total will be more than one billion aged 60 or over by the year 2025 (Marshall et al 2004). Furthermore, the needs and demand of the diverse population, who are children, pregnant, adult and disable vary considerably. Yet, as per today the growing awareness among the designers to satisfy the needs of the diversified users are still lack in demand (Marshall et al 2004).This is because as stated by Guimaraes, (2008) many active adults around the world are still reluctant to acknowledge the impact of physical built environment issues related to their daily lives. As stated by medical doctor Marill,(2010) natural changes in cells of human being may slow down or alter people capacity which most people will experience it when they reach their peak functioning at around age 30.
As a result users at this prime age and above are at the top of their stamina of their physical body where they are generally can used all the design features in the interior space with less barrier.Although some operational of existing design features required high physical effort and crucial concentration with more energy requested, no one dare to report it as a problem because they force themselves to performance as their abilities at the peak function. Those users rather take their chance to used the existing design features with fair obstacles rather express their personal attention because they do not want to be label as “older people” or “disable” in their surrounding where they live, work and spend their time with their families and friends Guimaraes, (2008).With that, therefore researcher believed a new technique to comprehend users needs is to understand the human diversity by include diverse users during design process in order to support them in built environment. For that reason it is a need to find an alternative approach in design in supporting a new trend of the population in line to sustain them in their chosen environment as their lifespan. From there on, this study will try to fill in the gap by integrate Universal Design (UD) at the early stage of designing, articularly during design process, which may turn design to be inclusive rather than exclusive for all. UD have ultimate input in this study because the idea behind UD is to create products and services that can be usable for people of all ages and various physical abilities (story, 2001).
The attractiveness of UD as stated by Guimaraes (2008) is beyond the normal product it has been recognized as consumer products, where everything that is designed to be used by people are part of the UD.The unique of UD comes with seven principles that easily to be translated into the design practice (Story, 2001). These Seven Principles guide the designers and users by emphasizing the characteristic of more usable product and environment while providing a framework for the systematic evaluation of new or existing designs (Story, 2001).
Furthermore, as stated by Iwarsson (2003) application of UD principles is more emphasizes on integration of accessibility and usability features from the onset, removing any stigma and resulting in social inclusion of the broadest diversity of users (Story, 2001).Therefore researcher strongly comprehend that UD is significant to be part of design process because it is truly a coherent theory that focuses on the ease of use of design features in the living environment for all. Even though there is an argument that UD cannot fulfill all people needs one hundred percent, but as stated by Congvinton (2000) UD can help to reduce physical barrier of built environment by given option and flexible on use and access for those who have physical abilities.In today life the society can no longer relegate the wheelchair user crippled, legless, mute or deaf people, because they are part of the society and we are also part of them. Therefore as stated by Iwarsson (2003) by designing for diverse users as possible, a design is no longer special and no longer identifies the users as different and all of us apart from each other and can share all the facilities provided in built environment without segregation.
To achieve the goal, according to Guimaraes (2008) the content of legislation need to progress worldwide towards a broader definition of the population who could benefit from the development of ‘user-friendly’ environments, i. e. , environments that are responsive to users’ varied abilities. As per today the notions of accessibility and usability of built environments have expanded the definition of disability beyond the medical view regarding lack of personal capacity for the undertaking of certain activities in built environment (Guimaraes, 2008).However, in design practices today, the main focuses of usable living environment are still remained on the needs of people with permanent disabilities only. Contrary on the increased of the proportion of able body people who experience temporary disabilities due to age and life accident that have been not counted to be part of users that need usable living environment. Therefore Guimaraes (2008) has stated that there is a strong correlation between age and disability, where the older people are the more likely to become disabled as they aged.
With the literature discussed, it showed that as the average age of number of people increases, most widely the number of people will benefit from UD will boost up (Guimaraes, 2008). Guimaraes (2008) also stated that as people get older they still want to remain active and well adjusted in their own house, local communities, while accessing public buildings and outdoor spaces. This has driven demand for better usable features in built environments.
Moreover, recognizing disability as part of everyone’s issues with the design of built environments requires a fundamental transformation in the way societies have dealt with (Guimaraes, 2008).For that reason creating opportunities for each individual, despite disabilities, to live and participate to their full potential is one of the pertinent in this study. As a result, creating UD from the early stage of design is more cost effective than adaptation at a later stage, meaning that there are also strong economic arguments for building more inclusive environments (Steinfeld, 2005), Therefore, this study is heading to, since many literatures showed that UD had proven it successful applied in developed country to minimize physical barrier of built environment.However in Malaysia, the awareness of the benefit of UD from professionals just started to nurture.
Therefore the implementations are still slow due to no enforcement from government and lack of the knowledge to incorporate in design. For that reason, this study attempt to look into the design practice on how UD can be integrates during design process at the fundamental level to increase the usable of the space and to assist ID for better understanding on diverse users iv) Research questions and Research objectives. Research questionsRQ: How can Universal Design Principles be integrate in interior design process in accommodating diverse users in Malaysia? Research objectives R. O: To integrate Universal Design principles in interior design process to accommodate diverse users in Malaysia. References: Asiah, 2006. Keperluan pengguna dan rekabentuk bangunan untuk warga tua di Malyasia.
Pusat Penyelidikan, Universiti Islam Antarabangsa, edisi pertama 2006. Burgstahler, S. 2012. Equal access: Universal design of instruction.
Seattle: DO-IT University of Washington. www. uw. edu/doit/Brochures/Academics/equal_access_udi. tml Baltes, P. B. , ; Smith, J.
(2001). Multilevel and systemic analyses of old age: Theoretical and empirical evidence for a fourth age. In V. L.
Bengtson ; K. W. Schaie (Eds. ), Handbook of theories of aging (pp. 153-173).
New York: Springer. Center for Excellent Universal design, 2008. Building for Everyone: A Universal Design Approach. http://www.
universaldesign. ie/ Department of Statistic, Malaysia. (2006) External Trade Statistics. Demirkan, Halime.
(2007) Housing For The Ageing Population. European Review of Ageing Physical Activity Journal. Volume4. (4:33-38) Etchell .L and Yelding. D, 2004.
Inclusive design: products for all consumers Consumer Policy Review. volume 14 • number 6 Guimaraes M. P. 2008, a holistic approach in Universal Design practice. In Avancos e Desafios na Construcao de uma Sociedade Inclusiva. R.
Correa (edt). Belo Horizonte: PUC-MG,. Pp 88-104 Horton S, 2005. The Universal Usability site houses an unabridged, online version of Access by Design: A Guide to Universal Usability for Web Designers, by published in 2005 Harrison, J. D. ; Parker, K. J. 1998.
Getting it right: Housing design for an ageing society in a changing world.Housing Science, 32(4), 273-283. Imrie, R.
, 2006. Independent Lives and the Relevance of Lifetime Homes. Disability and Society,. 21, No. 4(June 2006): p. 15.
Iwarsson, S. (2003). Accessibility, usability, and universal design – Positioning and definition of concepts describing person-environment relationships. Disability and Rehabilitation, 25, 57-66. Kreinbrook .
A T (2007). A Barrier-free Paradigm for Interdependent Living. M. Arch. , University of Maryland, College Park, 2007, 148 pages; AAT 1450195 Kose, Satoshi. (2009). How can the exploding senior population be accommodated?Japanese struggle towards inclusive design. Journal of Engineering Design, Nov.
2009 Kelleher. Jennifer, Kassie levesque, Linda Coro. (2007). Universal Accessibility: study of the marketplace. Center for Community Inclusive and Disability Studies.
The University of Maine. Kemp, J 2002. , “Foreword,” in Building a World Fit for People: Designers with Disabilities at Work, E. Ostroff, M. Limont, and D. Hunter (eds. ), Boston: Adaptive Environments, 2002.
Mace R. 1985, Universal Design, Barrier-free Environments for Everyone. Los Angeles , CA: Designers West. McNeil, J. M. 1997.Americans with disabilities: 1994-95. US Bureau of the Census Current Population Reports, P70-61.
Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office Marshall, A. L. , Chetwynd, A.
, Morris, J. , et al. 2004. Type 1 diabetes mellitus in childhood: a matched case control study in Lancashire and Cumbria, UK. Diabet Med,. 21: 1035-1040. Marill. M.
C, 2010. Is This Normal Aging or Not? Pain or sudden changes need a closer look. WebMD Feature.
Ostroff, E. (2001). Universal design: The new paradigm. In Universal design handbook, edited by W.
F. E. Preiser and E. Ostroff, 1. 3-2. 1.New York: Mc Graw-Hill. Parette.
P, Scherer. M, Technology Use and Stigma. Education and Training in Developmental Disabilities, 2004, 39(3), 217–226 Division on Developmenta Disabilities.
Story, M. F. and Mueller, J. , (2002) Universal Design Performance Measures for Products: A Tool for Assessing Universal Usability, in Emerging and Accessible Telecommunications, Information and Healthcare Technologies (pp. 19-28, RESNA Press, Arlington).
Story, MF, Mueller, JL, Montoya-Weiss, M, ; Ringholz D (2000). Progress in the development of universal design performance measures.Technology for the new millennium: Proceedings of the RESNA ’00 annual conference, pp. 132 134. Steinfeld, E. , et.
al. (2005). The Anthropometrics of Disability. Buffalo: Center for Inclusive Design & Environmental Access State University of New York at Buffalo. Story, M. F. (2001).
Principles Of Universal Design. In W. F. E. Preiser & E. Welch, P. and Palames, C. 1995.
A brief history of disability rights legislation in the United States. In Welch, P. (Ed. ), Strategies for teaching universal design. Boston, MA: Adaptive Environments Center. Question 2 i.
The theory/theories that guide the study.Derived from literature review, theoretical basis of this research come from a broad view of Human-centered design theory. The principles underlying human-centered design range across discipline, from community design, to architectural design, to interior design, industrial design, and design of communication venues. In this research, Human-Centered Design is focuses on the physical abilities and needs of the human user to enable them to be function at the highest level possible in their living space. It includes products and aspects of the physical environment that meet the needs and abilities of the users in interior design.For this study, utilizing research findings and data on physical abilities and limitations of users related to social needs will provide a new concept of living-environment solutions that enable all users to function at their highest capacity regardless of age and ability. According to the Institute for Human Centered Design (HCD), Universal Design (UD) has a parallel design movement with HCD that offers a similar framework for design problem-solving based on the core value of environmental responsibility.
Therefore this study, attempt to adopt UD as main design theory in finding a new solution in interior design to accommodates diverse ser in Malaysia. UD is a term that was first used in the United States by Ron Mace (1985). UD is not a trend but an enduring design approach that assumes the range of human ability is ordinary, not special (Ostroff, 2001). According to Mace`s definition of UD is “means simply designing all products, buildings and exterior spaces to be usable by all people to the greatest extent possible” (Mace, 1988). For that reason, Convington (1997) stated that UD is intended to be inclusive not exclusive.
Therefore, researcher agreed with many researchers that everyone should have an equal access and use the built environment at any level of their life.Even though some users may or are facing limitation or difficult during life course, but it is not impossible task for them to live in the same living environment if UD had been included from the beginning of designing (Ostroff, 2001). For the purpose of this study, UD can be describe as a design theory that increases usability, through the design and operation of environments, products and systems in response to the diversity of people and abilities. The adopted of UD in this research is because of the holistic of definition that focusing on human interaction with built environment at the fundamental level.This can be portrayed in seven principles of UD that have been developed by professional and scholar with logic and realistic guideline in design (Sandhu, 2001). The UD principles are the theory base that leads to the practice. Below are the seven principles of UD that have been established definition criteria by Center for UD North Carolina (1997) and will be a baseline for research framework in this study.
Principle| Definition | 1| Equitable use| A feature is designed to be useful to and accessible by people with diverse abilities. Provide the same means of use for all people; identical whenever possible, equivalent when not. 2| Flexibility in use| A feature is designed to accommodate a wide range of individual abilities. Provide choice in methods of use. | 3| Simple and intuitive| A feature is designed in a straightforward and predictable manner, regardless of the user’s experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level. Eliminate unnecessary complexity. | 4| Perceptible information| A feature is designed so that necessary information is communicated effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user’s abilities.
5| Tolerance for error| A feature minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions. | 6| Low physical effort| A feature is designed to minimize nonessential physical effort in order to allow maximum attention and can be used efficiently with minimum of fatigue. | 7| Size and space for approach and use| A feature is designed with consideration for appropriate size and space for approach, reach, manipulations, and use regardless of a user’s body size, posture, mobility, and communication needs. |From the Table above, researcher plan to synthesize and adopt all the seven principles of UD to be integrate in interior design process. This is because through researcher critical reading and analysis of all the established criteria of seven principles they are significant recitation of theory of usability which mean, in order to develop usable living space those seven criteria is vital to be consider in design process. Apart from that, researcher plan to expand these seven principles as operational variables that focusing on selecting and placement of the design features in living environment related to user’s daily activities.The extension of the UD principles can be overview as a parameter to set up the minimum usable and accessible design features that tolerate an option and choice to use the design features and product in living environment.
As a result, researcher forecast to utilize UD principles at the fundamental level in design process. To do so, this research will only focusing on the basic design features and product in interior design that directly use by users to start their daily activities without needs any high technology involve.From there on, researcher anticipate that a synthesis on established critical area and product in interior design from others scholar that most reported by users who facing difficulties or barrier through their life course will be a baseline of the study. Therefore, researcher assumed with understanding the integration of UD principles in interior design process, the living environment will result no or less advance technology or device added and the most vital is without compromises the aesthetical value f the living environment. To achieve the goal of the study, researcher foresee that a sensitivity and awareness on knowledge of selecting and placement of design features and product guided by theory of UD related to usable space for diverse users among interior designers are significant for future development of usable living environment for all. ii. The theoretical development of UD framework that your study will use for application in the interior design field.The roots of universal design (UD) can be traced to pioneering by architect name Ron Mace (1941-1998), who first envisioned a design concept guaranteeing the greatest access and usability to all, regardless of age or ability, while maintaining aesthetic appeal (Center for UD, 1997).
This theory is based on the premise that design of products and environments must be usable by all people, in the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design (Center for UD, 1997).In 1980s Mace was particularly responding to the lacks of adequate barrier-free architecture to meet the needs of the physically handicapped. Yet, even then, Mace (1988) had a much broader application in mind, that all spaces, features and aspects of all things should be designed to be usable by all people of all ages and abilities. As a result, the intent of the UD is more toward simplify life for everyone by making more usable and accessible design features that give an option or choice to users to use and access their environment at their own preferable way (Center for UD (1997).UD also has been developed because of significant on the achievement in the past century of enhanced health and subsequent longevity.
A new dimension of the cycle of provision has presented a heightened challenge for people of all ages. According to Sandhu (2001), there are many trends in society and global markets that clearly justify the need for actions regarding disable and older people. Below are the previous concepts that accommodate people in relation to their special needs referring to UD handbook (2001): * Ergonomics: originated at the end of World War II.Upon analyzing military objectives, their successes and failures, scientists finally realized human beings needed to be taken into account in the design process of machinery and equipment, to increase their effectiveness. Ergonomics has since developed into a science concerning itself with human beings and how people function in conjunction with a variety of equipment, products, methods and circumstances. Professional ergonomists consider a wide range of factors when offering guidance to ensure products or services is safe, easy to use, and efficient.
Physical attributes such as size, weight, height, strength, skill, speed, and sensory abilities, along with thermal comfort, motion, vibration, posture and workload are analyzed, in an effort to increase performance, prolong endurance and to reduce accidents. As a summarize, ergonomics encompasses all human activity and relies on research and data of a wide variety of disciplines including Anthropometry, Engineering, Biomechanics, Environmental Physics, Body Systems, Physiology, Applied Psychology and Social Psychology.Ergonomists work to improve the quality of users’ lives, increase users safety and enhance performance by providing solutions for workstations, tools, equipment, protective wear, cleanliness and worker well-being. As a result, ergonomic concept only focuses on how to help management to identify hazardous conditions, provide training, analyze data, establish prevention control measures and evaluate progress as a whole rather than utilize it in daily life activities for diverse users. Barrier-free design: Was developed during the Civil Rights and Disability Rights Movements by those trying to prevent discrimination against people with disabilities. Physical barriers were recognized as a hindrance to a person’s freedom.
Barrier-free designs today are influence in policies, design practices and law through the standardization of codes for access to the built environment. Although barrier-free design is part of the practice and law but the record of workplace injuries is still continue to increase.This result showed that the effectiveness of the barrier free design is still doubtful. All this happen because of it predominantly a disability-focused movement only that removing architectural barriers through the building codes and regulations.
As a result barrier free design is about removing physical barrier follow the Code and Regulation stated in federal legislation nevertheless UD is extended version of barrier free design that looking more detail on providing usable environment to largest population. Assistive Technology: Is technology that focused on designing or creating personal use devices or tools, utilized by individuals and help or compensates one with disability to function. Assistive technology essentially follows the medical model of disability where products or spaces are designed primarily to provide for people with special needs or with disabilities. Assistive technology is a personal preferable device and more on implies the development of high cost and design mainly for use within institutionalized setting, such as hospital or public housing or care center (Newell, 2003).Therefore it is less favorable to be included in personal space because of the institutional look and sometime become barrier to unintended users. As reported by Mace, Hardie and Place (1991) the disable community are sometimes frustrated with assistive technology device because of the lack of commercially available products, misconceptions of disability, and attitudinal barriers often fostered by specialized and stigmatizing design solution.
This is because of there is no prime practice that focus to create usable environment for all that included everybody rather than segregated design. Therefore the revolution and UD movement take part and started to be developed. For that reason, UD concept is referred to “lifespan” design that understands on spectrum of human abilities (Center for UD 1997) which contrary to the accessible and barrier free design that has a tendency to separate facilities in relation to different users needs (Steinfeld 1994).Even though UD is a new movement in design theory, but UD is actually an extension of accessible design, barrier free design and inclusive design which the goal of UD is to extend usable and accessible environment to the largest population possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design (Steinfeld 1994). According to Johnson (2008), UD is making its way into the collective consciousness, spurred on by the needs of ageing population. The concept of UD in built environment is originated from United Stated of America and other countries such as United Kingdom, Australia and Japan (Roennfeldt, 2003).UD is also known by different phrase covers a range of interpretation in different country, which is often used interchangeably, and overlapping but the objective or the goal of UD originally meant the same, to encompass all users, including elderly and disable people in the overall general population (Hasono, 2004). The accepted phrases that have been used internationally are design-for-all, trangenerational design, design for the broader average or design for the “non-average”.
Others similar concept and share same objective of UD that have been used worldwide, for instance ‘Life Span Dwelling’ in Norway, ‘Adaptable Housing and Flexible Housing’ in the United Kingdom, ‘Life Time Home and Easy Adaptable House’ in Sweden, and ‘Elderly Dwelling’ in Denmark (Kose 2009). Even though most residential designed with the UD concept are called differently in various countries but the objective or the goal of UD originally meant the same. According to Hasono (2004), UD phrase is still an alternative and preferable way of expressions to describe design for all included older people and the disable.Therefore the phrase of UD is ultimately use in this research, which described one solution that fit all people in built environment as they grow older. One of the most obvious UD succeed was reported by Steinfield (2005) is because of expression on usable features is invisible on the product or environment; its aesthetic qualities remains, yet its usefulness is maintained. In addition, UD goes beyond minimum access codes and standards, to design environments that are comfortably usable and accessible by people from childhood into their oldest years (Nasar, J.L. ; Evans-Cowley, J, 2007).
It is contrary to the negative assumption that attention to the needs of diverse user limits good design (Ostroff, 2001). Although UD may well be true to support diverse users with good design, it is important to see the successful of UD in western countries beyond the life style and culture too. This would appear to be supported by Kato (2007), in Japan, where UD has been effectively utilized by Japanese in their daily life activities without compromising their culture, way of living and climate.Kato (2007) added that successful implementation of UD in Japan was due to the characteristics and features of UD that are visible in the product. The way designers from Japan incorporating the idea of UD through carefully selected and placed differently of the UD features at the house components and products was the main rationale of success in applying UD in Japan (Kato, 2007).
Moreover, Imrie (2006) had stated UD concept in housing grew out of the recognition to simplify daily activity by considering basic needs of users; on how user access or use or operate the product or space.Imrie (2006) described daily activities such as people walk in and out the house, transfer around the house, use and reach some fixtures and products in house are main activities for people before they start other daily activities such as bathing, cooking, eating and sleeping. As a result, the daily activities described are very important and common activities for all people in all over the world regardless their culture, language and knowledge.Therefore researcher had concluded the most common activities that every single people will performance in pursuing their daily activities are summarized as below: * Able to get in and out the house easily * Able to get through the doorway * Able to move around the space * And able to reach and use all the equipment Furthermore, those common activities described above will be a main parameter in this research.
Many research findings reveal that the highest environmental problems such as falls among older people occur in the toilet, bathroom and kitchens.Even though the research finding says so, through researcher observation and confirm with previous study done by Mansor (2008), indicated that barrier and obstacles in the area mention above are in fact started with the used of unplanned and unusable design features of building components and products. The verification of above statement possibly can be interpreted as an evidence that by looking critically on how users transfer themselves into the toilet (using door features: door handle, door frame, floor finishes at door frame and etc) are seldom recorded.
If the door features are usable and accessible such as no threshold or no changing level at the floor of the toilet, it will give less or no barrier to user to pass through and to continue their daily activities such as bathing and others (Mansor, 2008). The indication of this part of the analysis led to the conclusion that design features in interior design components and products through detail selection and proper placement may minimize the barrier and obstacles in living environment.In the scenario described above, it can be attributed to shows that if the door does not permit users to access it easily, it also hinders users to continue others daily activities. Therefore with this reviewed, researcher has set the limitation of the study in the direction to micro understanding of design features rather than focus to macro view of area or spaces in order to create accessible and usable space to all. With that statement, researcher has full confidence that UD can be successfully applied in Malaysia too, without the need to compromise the look of the physical living environment or even the culture.This is because, as stated by Johnson (2008) UD concept is not a new science, style, or unique in anyway but it requires only an awareness of needs and it is a realistic approach to making everything that is designed and produced are usable and accessible by everyone to the greatest extent. Johnson (2008) added, the application of UD involves minor changes on the placement and selection of the design features in living environment for example on size, choice of operation, or the way in which the user must interact with the design.
With that, It is significant to shows that UD is not an added features or device in interior design but it is more toward on improvement or upgrading the existing features to be more easy to use and access by all regardless of culture, language and knowledge. From the conceptual of UD described above, researcher anticipated that integrating UD principles in interior design process will be a significant result in accommodating diverse users in Malaysia. iii.
Theoretical framework to explain the potential of integrating UD during the interior design process.To illustrate the development of theoretical framework in this study, researcher will segregate the key operational variables into three divisions as follow: a) Universal Design i) Universal design Principles ii) Usable design features b) Interior Design i) Design process ii) Regulation and Standard c) Integrated UD process i) Selection and placement of Design features ii) Interior Design Intervention iii) Usable and Visitable interior space Flow chart for theoretical framework The development theoretical framework to show the potential of integrating UD can be clarified as follow:The main body knowledge of the study become as showed above is Interior design and Universal Design. From the construct of each body knowledge, researcher attempt to focus only on design process and UD principles. From the center focus determine above researcher will explore the components or features that most pertinent in each part such the most components requirement during design process is regulation and standard apply in the process together with human database that guided designer to provide an appropriate measurement in design. For the UD principles, expert and cholar from center for UD North Carolina has established seven principles related to usable and accessible design features theory that have been accepted worldwide.
From the above components and features researcher will scrutinize both to comprehend the integration. From the integration process researcher will identify the appropriate method how to put it into the practice. As a result, through literature review and researcher experience the best modus operandi to integrate both body-knowledge is through considerate on selection and placement of usable design features in interior design process.To perform the modus operandi described above, researcher has identified four interior interventions that most reported generate some obstacles to the users in their daily activities. Those interventions related to daily activities can be illustrated as follow: Entrance features An entrance is made up of several components: * Actual door * Interior and exterior floor/ ground area in the immediate proximity of the door * Threshold * Door hardware (door handle) The entrance features in this research is about the main access or passageway for the purpose of get in and out the building.An entrance features includes door and size of the opening, floor features, threshold, and the hardware of the entry door such as the door handle. Those features are important to determine whether users can use and access easily or with fairly obstacles or with major barrier that permit them from getting in and out the house at their preferred abilities, to start perform others daily activities.
Internal Door features * Door width * Floor features between the door * Threshold * Door hardware (door handle)Internal door can be described as a main opening component on the wall that provides access to interior spaces. The features to be analyzed are the characteristics of the door component such as door handle, door width, opening operation of the door (in or out swing) and floor features between the door and the threshold. Those listed features are directly contact in user’s daily activities such as to relocating themselves from one space to another space to perform daily activities. Vertical circulation: StaircaseIncluded all components at the staircase: * Design of the staircase * Railing size and design * Handrail size and design Vertical circulation is more on studying the staircase features that consist of handrails, railing features and staircase design. This is because staircase is the main building component that connects two different levels of the spaces in the building (please disregard on technology such as lift and escalator because this study only focused on fundamental design features in interior design).Therefore by understanding staircase components features described above related to nature of use by human will be significant to support them in reposition from different level of the interior spaces. Electrical power point Contents with several electrical devices: * Electrical switches (location and proportion) * Electrical socket (location and proportion) The components of electrical power point in this research are limited to electrical switches and socket terminals specifically focused on location or position and proportion of height in interior design.
These design features of electrical power points are important because in today life, human activities depends a lots on electrical devices to support their needs and activities. Those electrical power points are components that are used daily in a interior design space to pursue daily activities such as switching on and off the lights, computers and television for entertainment and also for cooking purposes and etc. 1.
Main body-knowledge: Universal Design Principles Universal Design in this research goes far beyond removal barrier issues.UD in this study is more toward physical access and use of the interior space where interior design is not simply an obstacle to be negotiated. UD is more related to user’s interaction with many different features in the living environment and product use that often user rely on it when in the interior space. Therefore researcher concludes that UD principles is pertinent in interior design to give an idea and as guidance for creating usable and accessible living environment in supporting diverse users in Malaysia 2. Main body-knowledge: Interior designInterior design field known as one of architecture division that addresses large and complex issues related to interior space planning and the end users. Research has stated that 90 percent of human activities take place in the interior space (ASID 2007).
With that finding it showed that interior design become a very important part in human live to move forward in daily activities. As refer to America Society of Interior Design (ASID) interior designer is a profession that required a holistically understands about the end users in creating a living environments that support their daily activities.For that reason, researcher foresees the end users should be a central focus of the creation in interior design. This is because; users have direct connected with the built environment where they should feel trouble-free to use and access the interior space. A fundamental goal of interior design is generally to make a space that is both comfortable and aesthetically pleasing, often catered specifically to the needs of users.
Interior Design is the imaginative blend of art and science in the design of environments or people that involve the adaptation of natural and human-made environments. In general Interior design engages both in public and private buildings or spaces. Historically, interior design was reserved primarily for royalty and the aristocracy. Now, in the modern world, Interior Design is known as a line of work that give a total creative solution for interior spaces through conceptual planning, aesthetic value and technical solutions related to human needs.
But through researcher experience and observation many interior practices in Malaysia, are enthusiastic in showing their design creativity through style, fashion, furnishing and advance technology which the practicality of the living space related to end users was attend after the whole conceptual phase completed and normally was assign to the technical person such as assistant designer or draughtsman to complete the job. As a result, the interior space that supposes to be as a conducive living space to support users in daily activities becomes a space of appreciation only, because it is good to be used.Therefore a new shift of thinking to bring interior design beyond of the definition as an added value in architecture need to put away. Although the ultimate design goal of interior design is to enhancement the space, renovation