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Design For All
April 25, 2008 -
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When designing a space to meet the requirements of the Americans With Disabilities Act, consider ways to blend the accessibility features seamlessly into the general design. This way everyone's needs are met without making obvious accommodations for individuals. For example, automatic door operators at all doors help everyone from those with mobility disabilities to someone carrying a big box. Also, restroom hygiene is improved with hands-free doors. In the restrooms, if the stalls are too narrow to save space, people will tend to use the larger accessible stall. Making all stalls accessible, if possible, ensures everyone's comfort needs are met. Lastly, at the building's entrance, rather than having a steep sidewalk, an entrance that approaches at grade level without curbs could allow for a gently ramped walkway to the first floor level shallow enough to not require handrails, avoiding the typical heavy-handed look of accessible spaces.