Accessibility is the design of devices, environments, services, and products for people with disabilities that include a range of physical, sensory, mental, cognitive, developmental or intellectual impairments. In an effort to best provide equal access to physical spaces and environments as well as social, political, and economic resources, accessibility design attempts to offer both direct (unassisted) and indirect (assisted with technology) universal access to the world. Common forms of assistive technologies for humans include mobility technologies such as wheelchairs, prosthetics, walkers, canes, visual technologies like braille and screen readers, auditory technologies in hearing aids and listening devices, and cognitive aids from software to memory devices.
Walking canes, also known as assistive canes or walking sticks, are a form of mobility aid that redistribute weight away from injured or weak lower limbs. The basic cane is made up of a handle for a comfortable grip, a collar to connect the handle to the shaft, the shaft for transmitting weight load, and the ferrule (tip) for being a tactile interface that adjusts to the ground surface. Outside of injury and assisted general support and movement, canes are often used for a variety of needs that include aging, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, arthritis, diabetes, and other conditions.
Fit, comfort, and safety are paramount for the effectiveness of a cane and the first step to accomplish these goals is correctly fitting a cane to a person. To size a walking stick for an individual, measure the distance from a flat floor surface to their wrist joint while they are wearing standard walking shoes. From this dimension, round down to the nearest size available or place a custom order. Another simple way to estimate cane length is to divide an individual’s height by two and find the closest cane size within 1” | 2.5 cm from this measurement.
Length: 30”-36” | 76-91 cm
Fit: Measured from floor to wrist joint
Range (Front): 35° from vertical
Range (Side): 6” | 15 cm
Range (Vertical): 27” | 68.5 cm
Walking Canes side elevation (elderly men and women), front (elderly men)
Collection of male and female wheelchair users drawn from the side elevation. Representing various postures that include moving, resting, and waiting, these side elevation drawings of wheelchair users should be incorporated into architectural drawings to ensure that consideration and space has been provided to meet accessibility demands. Wheelchairs have a standard overall length/depth of 42” | 106.7 cm and seated users have an overall height between 48”-53” | 122-135 cm.
Collection of male and female wheelchair users drawn from the back elevation. Including multiple user positions, these back elevations of wheelchair users can be used to provide scale and context when meeting and designing required accessible widths in spaces. Wheelchairs have a standard overall width of 25” | 63.5 cm and seated users range in height from 48”-53” | 122-135 cm.
Mixed assortment of drawings of male and female wheelchair users as viewed from a front elevation. Sitting in varied postures from active to passive, these front elevations of wheelchair users are helpful when illustrating and demonstrating required widths of spaces that account for accessibility. Wheelchairs have a standard overall width of 25” | 63.5 cm and seated users range in height from 48”-53” | 122-135 cm.
Wheelchairs are chairs with wheels designed to serve users that are unable to, or have difficulty with, walking due to injury, illness, or disability. Standardized dimensions and related clearances for wheelchairs directly impact the built environment by establishing required widths and turning radii mandated in an effort to make public buildings accessible for all people. Wheelchairs come in a variety of types based on technology, methods of propulsion, and specific uses that leads us to a range of chairs that include everyday manual chairs, sport chairs, custom chairs for challenging terrains, standing position chairs, and motorized chairs. A typical wheelchair has a length of 42” | 106.7 cm, an overall height of 36” | 91.4 cm, seat heights around 19.5” | 49.5 cm, and a width of 25” | 63.5 cm.