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Size and Space for Approach and Use

Size and space for approach and use is one of the principles of universal design, which makes goods and products accessible to many people. This article will outline some examples of size and space for approach and use.

Size and Space for Approach and Use

Size and space for approach and use means that people should be able to reach all parts of a product easily. For instance, people may approach products:

  • While seated in a wheelchair or other assistive device
  • Standing, at various heights

For example, many fridge and freezer units are stacked on top of each other. As a result, someone using a wheelchair would be able to access their fridge but not their freezer. However, when the fridge and freezer are beside each other, someone at wheelchair height can reach both appliances.

Similarly, products and spaces should be arranged so that users at sitting and standing heights clearly see all important parts of the products. For instance, many people use drawers and cupboards to store their possessions. However, this type of storage keeps contents hidden. In contrast, some people may prefer some of their storage space to be open shelving, so that they can see what they have stored on every shelf. Moreover, tiered shelving units, with the largest shelf at the bottom and the smallest shelf at the top, provide a clear view of the things stored at each level. In addition, more storage space near the bottom puts more items in reach for people:

  • At wheelchair height
  • Of short stature

Likewise, products should be arranged so that people can reach them with the aid of an assistive device or support person. For example, roll-in showers have room for people to ender with their wheelchairs or their attendants.

Finally, people with different hand sizes should all be able to grip products easily. For instance, kitchen utensils should have handles that people of all sizes, ages, and genders can hold easily.