HADRIAN: a virtual approach to design for all

This article describes research into the area of ‘design for all’. The research addresses two common needs for designers working towards developing inclusive products and environments, namely, data on users that are accessible, valid and applicable, and a means of utilising the data to assess the accessibility of designs during the early stages of development. The approach taken is through the development of a combined database and inclusive human modelling tool called HADRIAN. Data were collected on 100 people, the majority of whom are older or have some form of impairment. These individuals provide a browsable resource spanning size, shape, capability, preferences, and experiences with a range of daily activities and transport-related tasks. This is partnered with the development of a simple, CAD-based task analysis system. Tasks are carried out by the virtual individuals in the database and accessibility issues are reported, allowing excluded people to be investigated in order to understand the problems experienced and solutions identified. HADRIAN is also being expanded to include a more accessible journey planner that provides accessibility information to both end users and transport professionals. Together, HADRIAN allows more informed choices to be made either in travelling, or in the designing of products and environments.