Visualizing Accessibility Standards

A demonstration with CSA B651

Codes, standards, guidelines, and other similar regulatory documents that dictate the design of the built environment are often highly technical and text-heavy documents. A reliance on text-based content makes these documents unfriendly to many of the audiences who use them and can even lead to misinterpretation or too-rigid application of the standards in real spaces. Clearer communication of the form and intent of built environment standards, especially of accessibility standards, can have a lasting impact on the public and private spaces of our communities. The goal of this project is, therefore, to make a case for transforming design standards like Canada’s National Standard for accessibility in the built environment (B651-18) from a technically-focused document to a more communicable tool.

We hope that doing so will support better understanding of accessibility requirements by planners, architects, engineers, developers/building owners, and others using this document.

Thanks to funding from Accessibility Standards Canada’s Advancing Accessibility Standards Research grant, we developed a pilot set of visual media (e.g., diagrams, annotated photos, videos) for select sections of B651-18 to publish and test on a public website as a digital communication tool. Professionals who use the standards provided us with a wealth of feedback on the visualizations to inform this research.

We are pleased to share a copy of the Findings Report from the research below. A separate website, called Canadian Accessibility Standards (CAS) Viewer, catalogues the visualizations tested through this research.

Community experts and accessibility advocates speak to building and design professionals about the importance of an accessible built environment as part of the research project, Visualizing Accessibility Standards. This short video samples clips from the project to encourage more accessible design choices as part of National Access Ability Week, 2023.

Findings Report (English)

Rapport de Résultat (en français)