Accessibility Resource Center
Our Accessibility & Technology Resource Center is located at our Syracuse office and provides examples of accessible design. Our Resource Center was funded in part by a grant from the Central New York Community Foundation.
What is accessible design?
One of the more interesting facts about accessible design is that often what starts out as “accessible design” winds up making everyone’s life a whole lot easier.
Our Syracuse office features examples of simple design concepts that increase accessibility for people of all abilities at home and at work. If you would like to see these design concepts in person, please contact us for an in-person tour.
What are some accessible design concepts featured in the Syracuse office?
- Doorbell – a strobe device provides visual cues for individuals who have experienced hearing loss.
- Entrance – two sets of automated double doors provide an air lock to reduce drafts. This is not uncommon, of course, but the distance between these sets of doors allows easy maneuvering.
- Security – the control keypad is within easy reach and has larger keys and high-contrast lettering. Exterior doors and doors between common areas can be locked/unlocked using a fob that is waved in front of fob-readers.
- Reception Desk – the desk height and minimally-raised front allows eye contact at any level, and a special area has an extended ledge for ease of filling out forms and paperwork.
- Kitchen Appliances – the cook top controls are located in front of the burners for easy reach and safety, and the depth of the clear floor space under the cook top meets ADA requirements. The wall oven is located next to a pull-out cutting board to increase safety for users who are seated. The sink has lever-style faucet handles and the depth of the clear floor space under the sink is ADA specified. The dishwasher features pull out trays. Most importantly, no specialty or high cost appliances were selected, showing that accessibility doesn’t have to have a high price tag.
- Kitchen Cabinets – the cabinets were developed by Syracuse University students as part of an assignment for an Industrial Design class. Door and drawer pulls were selected that need little grasping. Pull out cutting boards are useful for cutting from a seated position and setting things down from a hot oven.
- Laundry Appliances – there are pedestals under the front loading washer and dryer, making them easier for anyone to use.
- Water Fountains – are located below the required height for increased ease of use.
- Corridors – there is high contrast between carpet and wall color to provide better definition for people with visual impairments. Chair rails can be equipped with tactile warning devices to cue people who are blind that information in Braille is located above.
- Bathrooms – Stalls have adequate space for maneuvering and varying toilet rim heights for convenience. Automatic flush valves provide flush control within reach ranges. Sinks have automatic faucets and meet requirements for depth of clear floor space beneath. All dispensers are within easy reach. The Mannington Assurance flooring is slip proof, increasing safety.
- Elevator – visual cues are present at each floor to notify individuals of the level they are on (White & Blue VCT floor on Level 2 – Blue Carpet on Level 1). The elevator system sounds tones for the different floors and Braille characters are in place.
- Stairwell – color contrast looking up the stairs improves visibility for people with visual impairments. From the top of the stairs looking down, reflective strips have been placed near the edges of the treads to provide contrast.
- Area of Refuge – the space at the top of the stairs is a fire-rated enclosure where individuals with mobility impairment can wait for emergency response personnel. This area is equipped with a telephone (a dedicated line that is also used for the elevator) and a fire extinguisher. There are three Areas of Refuge – two on the second floor and one in the basement.
- Signage – the public areas, elevator, and stairwells are well identified with high contrast, raised, large lettering and also with Braille. This signage is also used for individual offices.
- Door Handles – lever-style door handles are used throughout the building.
- Lighting – all lighting in the building is equipped with parabolic diffusers to improve evenness.
- Cubicle Layout – the layouts allow for wheelchair maneuvering clearances within the cubes and provide passing width for wheelchairs at regular intervals.
- Telephone – the telephone system provides volume control, high contrast display, and headset capabilities.