Visualizing Accessibility Standards

A demonstration using CSA B651-18

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 communicable tool that supports better understanding of accessibility requirements by planners, architects, engineers, developers/building owners, and others using this document. To do so, we have 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. 

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.
A person using a wheelchair confronting steps.

To inform this work, the research team is asking design professionals, municipal officials, advocates, and anyone who may use accessibility standards to visit the website and provide anonymous feedback on the helpfulness of the visual media to interpret and engage with the B651 content. When the website is released, a link will be provided on this webpage and through PEACH’s social media.