Access Sailing Systems and Japan Universal Socio Engineering Research Institute (Japan USER), work to promote the concept of “sailing for everyone”. In an ideal world, physical access should not disadvantage anyone going about their everyday life. With the rapid ageing of the world’s population, we must begin to address the issues that exclude a large percentage of individuals.

The problems experienced today have come about because of the acceptance of ineffectual design. In the past, designers have ignored the needs of anyone who is not a right-handed, physically fit male, of average body size and aged between 18 and 45. By 2050*, it is projected that this group will make up less than 15% of the population – so, what about the other 85% of the population who do not suit “normal” design parameters?

* US Census Bureau projections for 2050
25% 0 -17 years
45% 46+ years
25% people with a disability
52% female

The seven principles of Universal Design were developed by a working group of architects, product designers, engineers and environmental design researchers at The Center for Universal Design, North Carolina State University.  These principles are closely aligned with the design philosophy of Access sailcraft. Awareness and attention to these principles will ensure inclusive sailing programs are established where everyone is able to participate together, regardless of their age, ability, gender and financial status.

The Seven Principles of Universal Design

Principle 1
Equitable Use – Design for everyone and every ability. The design should be useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities and should avoid stigmatising users.
* provide the same means of use for everyone;
* provide privacy, security and safety equally for everyone;
* avoid segregating or stigmatising people who use it; and
* make the design appealing to people who use it.

Principle 2
Flexibility in Use – Flexible design and choices. The design should accommodate a wide range of abilities and individual preferences.
* provide choice in methods of use;
* accommodate right or left handed access and use;
* facilitate people’s accuracy and precision; and
* be adaptable to people’s pace.

Principle 3
Simple and Intuitive Use – Design that’s simple and easy to use. The design should be easy to understand, regardless of the person’s experience, knowledge, language skills or current concentration level.
* be simple (eliminate unnecessary complexity);
* be consistent with people’s expectation and intuition;
* accommodate a wide range of literacy and language skills;
* arrange information consistent with its importance; and
* provide effective prompting and feedback during and after task completion.

Principle 4
Perceptible Information – Design that naturally makes sense. The design should communicate necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the person’s sensory abilities.
* use different modes eg. pictorial, verbal and tactile for essential information;
* contrast essential information against its surroundings;
* maximise ‘legibility’ of essential information;
* differentiate elements in ways that can be described (so it is easy to give instructions
or directions); and
* provide compatibility with a variety of techniques or devices used by people with
sensory limitations.

Principle 5
Tolerance for Error – Design that protects users. The design should minimise hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions.
* provide warnings of hazards and errors;
* provide fail safe features;
* minimise hazards and errors (eg. eliminate, isolate or shield); and
* discourage unconscious action in tasks that require vigilance.

Principle 6
Low Physical Effort – Design that requires minimal exertion. The design should ensure that the craft can be used efficiently and comfortably and with a minimum of fatigue.
* allow the person to remain in a neutral body position;
* use reasonable operating forces;
* minimise repetitive actions; and
* minimise sustained physical effort.

Principle 7
Size and Space for Approach and Use – Design that works for all shapes and sizes. Appropriate size and spacing should be provided for approach, manipulation and use regardless of the person’s body size, posture or mobility.
* provide a clear line of sight to important elements for any person;
* make reach to all components comfortable for any person;
* accommodate variations in hand and grip size; and
* provide adequate space for personal assistance or assistive devices