The IAUD International Design Awards were initiated nine years ago to raise awareness of Universal Design, and to showcase best practice examples. Since then, each year winning entries have demonstrated the success of this project and a growing understanding of Universal Design methods and processes. For 2019 the Jury decided it was time to raise the bar by setting a series of challenges to all participants by asking for entries that:
Once again there was a particularly strong showing from major Japanese companies, very clearly demonstrating the extent to which they and their design teams and studios have internalized the key ideas, concepts and methodologies of user-centered inclusive design. We have also seen exciting new approaches to corporate social responsibility (CSR), with major companies deploying their technologies, capabilities and creativity to engage with people with significant disabilities or illnesses and offer heartwarming solutions and experiences that empower company staff and citizens alike with a vision of a shared and caring future.
In making three Grand and ten Gold Awards the Jury has sought to honor innovative and human-centered entries that are pushing the boundaries of UD in new and exciting directions. The bar is clearly raised, which creates a challenge for more classic examples of the user-friendly design that is becoming the norm across major sectors. Pushing boundaries in this area has become more difficult, requiring deeper research and closer user-engagement to be effective. Next year the judges will be more demanding of supporting evidence of user consultation and testing.
This year has also seen a welcome increase in applications from individuals and smaller companies. All our futures depend on an influx of young talent supported by the best in research and education, and it is to the younger generations that we must look for the innovation and lateral thinking to complement the steady advances being made in user-friendly inclusive design. To this end, the jury will, with IAUD, be seeking ways to encourage and support greater international participation, and in particular from those sectors that have previously been under-represented, such as design schools and universities, innovation hubs, individual students, design graduates and research programs advancing knowledge and best practice.
The past nine years of the awards have seen sustained progress, and to maintain this momentum the Judging Panel is looking for entries that:
Vision of The Fjords is a truly Universal Design and an unrivalled leader in its field: a tourist boat that seamlessly integrates passengers of all abilities to offer a unique experience in an environmentally friendly vessel. With a hybrid propulsion system, the vessel blends with its surroundings in near silence while the innovative ramped design allows visitors to get as close as possible to the stunning scenery of the Norwegian fjords.
An excellent example of how UD can drive innovation in industry, and a delightful example of environmental sustainability, which celebrates diversity by seamlessly integrating inclusive features in a superbly detailed design. One juror commented: “the elegant use of a continuous slope between decks reminds me of the Villa Savoye designed by Le Corbusier. It is a masterpiece of Universal Design”“Vision of The Fjords” presented in DOGA’s website
The goal of this initiative is to help deliver a UD society by making public announcements and other forms of sound information available to all in forms they can readily understand and in all situations and environments, especially those that involve emergency announcements, a global gap in translation technology. This exemplary network of close to three hundred member companies is leading the world in fostering and disseminating universally accessible information.
Since 2016, when the SoundUD concept was honored with a Gold Award, the SoundUD Consortium has achieved a significant real-world impact by demonstrating its long-term commitment to creating a UD society. The activities of the SoundUD Consortium have led to successful standardization and exemplary implementation projects that are making a real difference to people’s lives.More information
A highly innovative interface developed over an eight-year period in close collaboration with deaf people. Ontenna delivers access to sound in a new way by converting it to vibration and light in real-time, and revealing features such as rhythm and pattern. By embracing the needs of deaf people and allowing Ontenna users to ‘feel’ sound through other senses it opens up a new and shared experience to people of all ages and abilities.
A simple but ingenious product that embodies the essence of inclusive design. They described it as a truly innovative approach to Corporate Social Responsibility that offers a new experience of sound for all, clearly demonstrating the company’s commitment to building a genuinely UD society for the future. The small, smooth, white device fits subtly on the hair or collar.More information
One in every two people in Japan is likely to develop cancer during their lifetime, and this project sets out to help them find the self-confidence and esteem they need to confront challenging treatments and an uncertain future. Expert beauticians make up male and female cancer patients to help them discover a self-image they can feel happy with, photographers capture their new-found selves and posters are created to support them through treatment and rehabilitation.
Responds to a seldom-considered and very large population of people with cancer or recovering from cancer with an attractive campaign that has great potential for replication. An imaginative, people-centered initiative that reframes corporate social responsibility in a very positive and pro-active way. Lavender Ring is good for cancer patients, and an effective way of boosting morale within the company through direct action for social benefit and emblematic of a UD society. As men (62%) are more likely than women (47%) to develop cancer over their lifetimes this program importantly offers help to both sexes.
Universal design is not strongly catered for in outdoor activities in Japan, and as a consequence people with disabilities have less choice and less incentive when it comes to enjoying nature. This project aims to turn Suma Beach into a universal amenity where disabled and older people, and parents with small children can enjoy themselves on the beach and take part in seaside activities.
A delightful social integration project bringing people of all ages and abilities together to enjoy local beaches. It is a small initiative that has achieved considerable success and acts as an inspiration, and is a tribute to civic engagement. A very diverse mix of integrated recreational group activities is offered, some using very innovative products and techniques. Excellent videos make the examples very compelling.
An exemplary program of Universal Design education through active learning on a real-world project that brings UD principles to life for architecture students. The program is funded through mandatory support for disabled people in the workplace and creates accessible accommodation for disabled trainees and students.
An imaginatively funded direct-experience UD training program that brings together architecture students with disabled user in a practical collaboration. A hands-on approach where UD education is directly linked to the co-design and construction of accommodation offering access to education and training for disabled students. Bangkok University has raised the international bar for architectural education with a program that pushes the boundaries of Inclusive Architecture in a solid, appropriate and creative manner.
Housing manufacturers Hankyu Hanshin Properties have developed Geofit plus over a ten-year period of close collaboration with and feedback from housing system residents. Questionnaires and field surveys based on experimental living spaces and actual housing form the basis of a process of continuous consultation and improvement that lies at the heart of a housing design system that offers considerable flexibility and individualization within a standardized format.
An example of impeccable implementation of UD methodologies producing excellent results both social and economic, based on high levels of end-user participation – over 8000 people – in the development of complex structures. Universal design at its best!
The degree of recognition of developmental disabilities in society is not high. As a consequence, young people with these conditions and their families are unlikely to participate in sporting activities, to travel for pleasure or to play an active role in their communities. In addition, many children with developmental disabilities have hyperaesthesia, which makes participation even more difficult. Several companies and organizations joined together to address these issues and deepen mutual understanding of them by promoting access to sports and universal tourism, with an emphasis on football as one of the most popular modern sports and spectator activities.
A remarkable strategy for raising awareness of and understanding and accepting disabilities by focusing on issues like hyperaesthesia and developmental disabilities. It provides a striking example of corporate collaboration and community engagement centered on children with neuro-diversity and demonstrates the value of a radical and imaginative approach to corporate social responsibility.
The Accessibility Digest is a graphic guide with all the necessary information to make design for all easier. It is a collection of graphic and technical datasheets with drawings, technical facts and worked good practice examples for different accessibility parameters, classified according to DALCO criteria (Ambulation, Apprehension, Location, Communication) and Spanish Regulations.
Well-realized and highly accessible set of design guidelines helping architects and householders understand and implement accessibility principles. By analyzing how architects use visual images the Accessibility Digest has been conceived as a practical and effective tool for designing accessible spaces that goes beyond current legislation and pushes the conventional boundaries of UD practice.
An innovative range of new urban pavement materials designed according to UD philosophy and using sintering technology to meet a range of practical and accessibility requirements. These high quality products offer both durability and easy-clean surfaces along with reduced energy consumption in production, transport, maintenance and replacement. In particular they combine non-slip properties in both dry and wet conditions with outstanding performance qualities and low weight.
A well-conceived and researched new material development program offering real cost-efficient benefits in UD urban design, greater sustainability and enhanced aesthetic value. Importantly the surface qualities of this new material deliver significant gains in slip-resistance and resistance to contaminants such as chewing gum. An excellent example of how new materials can contribute to UD.
The moio is a clever monitoring device for people with dementia in professional and home care settings, and the key element in the moio.care system. In the form of a flat, smooth and flexible sensor module it constantly assesses the patient’s status, and only when recognizing a specific need will it establish a wireless data connection to transmit necessary information to the person responsible for care, reducing unnecessary awakening of patients while ensuring help is provided whenever needed.
A well-designed and realized monitoring system for dementia patients, in particular in care homes, but also with potential for domestic care. An inconspicuous assistance and diagnostic solution that responds to a real need to unobtrusively monitor people with significant physical and cognitive limitations. Impressive attention has been given to comfort, information security, use of geo-fencing, and limiting access only to pertinent personnel. Importantly it can help to reduce the care worker's burden without compromising the quality of care.
With the help of streaming video and smartphone technology, Aira connects blind or low vision users with specially trained people who provide immediate visual information about the user’s surrounding environment This is available free of charge at a wide range of business locations partnering with Aira, such as retailers, airports, transport facilities and museum, enabling people typically on low and fixed incomes access to work and enhanced independence.
An innovative combination of AI technology with corporate sponsorship to deliver free-at-point-of-access assistance and information to vision impaired people. Again, an excellent example of meaningful and desirable partnerships promising a UD society for the future.
The Gateway Arch project saw the transformation of the National Park surrounding a high-profile design icon, Eero Saarinen’s Gateway Arch in St Louis, Missouri, into a substantially more welcoming and inclusive landmark through a commitment to universal design. This was achieved through a public private-partnership between the US National Park Service and the Gateway Arch Park Foundation prioritizing Universal Design. Throughout the project the landscape architects, architects, and exhibition designers worked in collaboration with a UD committee of user/experts.
A fine example of a large-scale inclusive urban renovation project successfully commissioned and driven by the two clients' deep commitment to Universal Design and applauded the commissioning public/private partnership for its vision and persistence in ensuring the delivery of a major example of Inclusive Design in a public space. It is distinguished by the seamless integration of Universal Design with preservation.
A wrist-band style wearable notepad with a unique surface coating that allows people to make and make simple notes and reminders that stay with you. You can write directly on the band with any oil-based ballpoint pen, and erase notes by simply rubbing with a finger or eraser making this a convenient and accessible memory aid for everyday use.
A simple solution to a widespread problem, and a good example of something that is inexpensive, low-tech, and serves an identified user need. Evidence of strong user support is cited for this product that could appeal to a very wide range of people.
Archelis is a wearable chair that enables surgeons and medical staff to move about and sit comfortably during long operations without undue physical strain. This offers significant advantages in particular in laparoscopic surgery which body stability is required for procedures requiring high degrees of accuracy and dexterity.
An innovative body-support design developed with and for laparoscopic surgeons, including those with congenital or acquired functional limitations. It has potential to be customized for other demanding tasks and activities. As such it stands outside the realm of true UD, but it could also have a role to play in rehabilitation and the management of specific physical conditions, thus giving it a broader potential user-base.
Children who have lost their hair due to cancer, alopecia, or other causes can find the experience traumatic and demoralizing. This challenge is effectively addressed through this project which encourages donations of hair that are then used to create custom-made pediatric wigs that are provide free of charge to children under the age of 18. This program is one of several similarly laudable initiatives from the same organization.
A simple and effective idea developed and delivered with a high-level of commitment and energy that addresses an important and much-neglected issue in an inclusive and engaging way.
In this practical study, factors affecting the use of easy-to-understand pictograms (graphic symbols) and understandable print kana (alongside Chinese characters) were investigated with a group of high school students with intellectual disabilities. The results were implemented in an educational facility in March 2019 leading to proposals for universal symbol design and usage for people with intellectual disabilities.
Intelligent and thorough research into user-consultation methodologies in pictogram design, with an excellent worked example. The design of signage recognizing the needs of people with mental disabilities is an important social requirement. The Jury hopes that that the team will continue the research with an expanded group of users and in different environments to refine the end result.
This is a smartphone app that enables users to call an elevator from a distance. Also, by specifying the destination floor in advance, users are able to call an elevator simply by approaching it. This hands-free operation ensures comfortable mobility within buildings, in particular for wheelchair users.
A good example of continuing product improvement through user-aware design based on an established, company-wide UD policy. Once again Mitsubishi has identified an opportunity to solve a new problem, with excellent user testing and relevant options for hands-free and confidential communication.
An entertaining and engaging way for sighted and vision-impaired people to enjoy a common experience in the form of an experiential exhibition of Sony’s sound and tactile technology that does not rely on vision to appreciate it. An inclusive design process was adopted to develop the exhibition, and a demonstration event in the United States was enjoyed by a diverse audience of people with and without visual impairments.
A richly multi-sensory experience and a rare example of "disability as an asset." It described it as very positive idea integrating the needs of visually impaired people in an immersive sound experience and an interesting development in corporate social responsibility practice.
In collaboration with Aktion Mensch e.V., a German non-profit organization and publishing house Carlsen Verlag, Inkl. Design has produced a single one-book-for-all design that children can read and enjoy together, regardless of physical of cognitive limitations.
A genuine and thorough exploration of the challenges of achieving real UD in children’s books, resulting in an excellent worked example and a set of design guidelines. An important step forward.
The personal experience of living in close contact with a severely disabled child inspired an impressive range of initiatives aimed at better integrating disabled people within a local community, from the personal level up to and involving a whole town. As a result, universal design thinking has been adopted in the Kitashinmachi, TanbaSasayama-city area, making it age and ability-friendly and an enjoyable living environment for socially vulnerable people.
An excellent model for community integration programs, in particular for older people and people with developmental disabilities. But the most striking aspect is the sheer dedication of a single individual whose family experience of extreme disability inspired a series of initiatives that are transforming life for local people.
A better air-conditioner, with careful attention given to technical, operational, control and maintenance aspects, along with overall user-friendliness.
An effective product evolution offering benefits for adults, children and older people and a good example of continuing product improvement through user-aware design. The remote control is a good example of UD.
A dishwasher and drier with a large washing tank, generous loading capacity and a multi-function basket, all making for easy use. A simple touch switch allows the door to be opened automatically and quiet operation makes it unobtrusive in an open-plan kitchen.
A good example of continuing product improvement through user-aware design in a standard appliance. It applauds Mitsubishi on its company-wide UD policy but is looking for UD that goes beyond basic user-friendliness.
A medium-capacity refrigerator for smaller households, from newlyweds and young families raising children to empty-nesters and seniors. The CG series offers a unique chilling function carefully detailed exteriors that will stay clean for years of use.
A good example of continuing product improvement through constant learning from customers with a mix of features tailored to the small household. While the jury praised the level of user-aware design it did not see a UD dimension beyond that.
Platform trucks tend to be heavy and difficult to move when fully loaded. This problem is overcome with a simple manually operated device that makes the truck easy to get moving from a static position. The start assist truck is relatively inexpensive compared with motor-assisted versions and suited to older or female workers.
A low-cost simple design that delivers clear benefits to workers at an entry-level price. A ubiquitous piece of warehouse and workshop equipment reinvented to respect the limitations of older people and woman who are increasingly present in the manufacturing sector.
Wireless TV speakers with a remote control function and sound processing to make audio easier to hear and dialog crisper and clearer. These speakers automatically adjust volume according to ambient sounds, and with a large volume control with integrated power button are simple to use.
A wireless remote speaker integrating a TV remote control that meets the needs of disabled and elderly people who are housebound or others who rely on the television for information, entertainment and news. It felt that a more probing research process could well have led to additional user-friendly features.
Dryxx is 3-in-1: handbag, shopping bag and backpack. Equipped with only one strap, Dryxx offers several carrying options along with a variable bag-volume so can adapt itself to a wide range of user needs.
A simple, ingenious and delightful design for a multi-function bag meeting the need for a bag that is light, flexible and good-looking. Although very user-friendly in concept and execution no real account is given of a UD process.
The McGraw Family Garden of the Senses is an example of how design with nature can offer experiences that are engaging and enriching for every visitor, regardless of age or ability.
A competent inclusive design of a small two-acre garden in the100 acre Cape Cod Heritage Museum and Gardens, an area with a very lager elderly population nearby. This second ‘garden of the senses’ entry from Dirtworks, demonstrates the effectiveness of the company’s UD methodology.
A smartphone app makes medical examination results and ultrasound images available to pregnant women. Doctor’s advice can be checked quickly and conveniently, making communication between doctor and expectant mother easier and more effective.
A smartphone app that delivers healthcare information and advice along with medical images to pregnant women and their families. A positive and reassuring implementation of communications technology.
An aquaculture control system that remotely gathers relevant data and presents it in a unified interface, enabling a wide range of workers to manage local, small-scale aquaculture. The system is particularly suited to establishing sustainable specialized fisheries giving employment to local people, potentially including disabled and older people.
A fish-farming management system that allows for flexible working and facilitates sustainable food production. The system uses ICT technology for cultivating and harvesting local sea Urchins and sea Cucumbers as a means of supporting land-based aquaculture. In particular where, given the aging of local fishermen, traditional methods no longer are viable.
This Raku-Raku smartphone was developed as a bridge for older users between a more familiar traditional handset form and an internet-enabled smartphone. The design focuses on usability, so that anyone can use it safely and securely.
An age-friendly Raku-Raku handset designed to introduce late–adopters to smartphone use. It includes some innovative features but not the best of recent UD phone developments.
DF King Gothic is a comprehensive and consistent sans-serif font family that supports 15 language sets and is optimized for ease of reading. The design aims to bring better communication into different cultures and reading habits as a truly global font family.
A thorough, elegant and high-quality example of inclusive typeface design with a strong sense of multi-cultural awareness implemented in 15 languages.
Unfortunately the lack of clear evidence of user-research and validation restricts it to a bronze award.
An “Acoustic Ecology Data Transmitter” was installed in the exclusion zone 10 km from Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant to transmit and store a live stream of sound from an unmanned remote sensing station in the area.
A fascinating research project and an important initiative capturing sound data from the Fukushima exclusion zone to demonstrate how wildlife can recover after a disaster. However, as the UD approach of the project is not clear enough, it also suggested disseminating this insight into life in the area to schools and through websites to raise awareness about nuclear risks and nature recovery.
This lighting innovation uses continuous indirect lighting to provide glare and shadow free illumination. With the mirror doors closed, the cabinet offers atmospheric room lighting. With the mirror doors open, it offers ideal facial illumination to facilitate make-up and shaving.
A clever concept and appealing product that makes daily personal toilet activities easier and more pleasurable for older people and in particular those with low vision or light sensitivity. Its limited UD features might have been extended through user research, warranting a higher award.
A wheelchair-friendly kitchen cabinet design that provides convenient access to the lower storage space of hinged door cabinets. Two pull-out shelves are automatically extended when the door is opened, and the upper shelf can then be pushed in to ensure optimum access to the lowest level. When closing, the unit is automatically retracted. Generous space under the units allows for unobstructed wheelchair access.
An elegant and simple solution to a common problem of accessing kitchen cabinets, especially for wheelchair users. Although the concept and thinking are not new, the design is flexible, and well-executed and realized with clean modern styling, taking advantage of contemporary fittings and lighting possibilities.