Beyond Accessible to Welcoming: Tools to Bring Inclusive Design to Life

In July, we hosted a special event at The Shop called Beyond Accessible to Welcoming: Creating Environments that Work. We brought people together for a powerful discussion about the importance of inclusive design—for starters, it’s a non-negotiable.

We summed it up in our recap of the eventAccessible, inclusive, universal design is just good design. It’s about designing for the full spectrum of human existence and acknowledging that disability is a normal part of our shared experience. Our spaces should be enjoyed by all.

But how do we bring this practice of inclusive design to life? Beyond codes and regulations, what else can we, as ideators, do to create a more accessible experience for all? Our panelists—Brian Collins of Microsoft, Kamara Sudberry of Steelcase, and Karen Braitmayer of Studio Pacifica—thoughtfully offered their time and wisdom to our community. 

Beyond Accessible was more than just an event, but an opportunity to start a conversation worth having—and sharing— again and again. Our panelists were generous enough to share some recommended resources to help you tap into accessibility-driven processes. Return to this article anytime you need an extra dose of inspiration. Maybe we’ll even meet you at our next event!  

Brian Collins: Director of Global Workplace Services at Microsoft

The Microsoft community is made up of over 200,000 people with unique experiences and perspectives—mindful accessibility practices are key to helping this diverse group thrive. Brian Collins is responsible for leading Microsoft’s Workplace Employee Engagement, Supported Employment, and Change Management programs that help staff prepare for and adapt to the new workspaces at the corporate headquarters. In other words, he’s an expert at bringing people together and creating safe spaces for them.  Connect with Brian

Brian’s Picks

Inclusive Tech Lab at Microsoft: Minding the Gap Between People with Disabilities and Those Without. Get a glimpse into Microsoft Corporation’s accessibility-forward workspaces that break barriers and empower employees who live with disabilities. 

John Porter My Journey. Learn how Microsoft Real Estate and Facilities worked with employee John Porter to create an accessible workplace to meet his productivity needs.

Microsoft Accessible Workplace Handbook Jan 2020

Kamara Sudberry: Global Inclusive Design Leader at Steelcase

“Designing for inclusivity is not a solo endeavor. The more we are able to partner and practice inclusive design, the more we can absorb and build upon the knowledge people are willing to share with us.” Kamara Sudberry—the Global Inclusive Design Leader at Steelcase—shared this insight on Steelcase’s blog. Check out their thoughtful piece on designing for inclusive workplaces here. Kamara brings her DEI background to Steelcase, helping the team to continue their legacy of building community through inclusive design practices. Connect with Kamara

Kamara’s Picks

Inclusive Design in Practice | Steelcase Webinar. A webinar on Steelcase’s inclusive design journey with Special Olympics MI and Spork!

Celebrating ADA With Spork! Founder, Whitney Hill. A deep dive into what led to the ADA, what the ADA means to a global audience, and how it is leveraged to practice inclusive, intersectional design.

Absolutely Accessible Kent Small Room. Presentation from Hansel Bauman on DeafSpace Research

Mismatch: How Inclusion Shapes Design by Kat Holmes

Karen Braitmayer: Founder and Principal at Studio Pacifica

Since 1993, Karen Braitmayer, the Founder and Principal at Studio Pacifica, has advised the architect community on how to design beyond the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Karen’s experience navigating osteogenesis imperfecta in the design field inspired her to share her anecdotes and insights to change the industry for good. She has made an impact on a national scale, including being appointed by President Obama to the U.S. Access Board. Connect with Karen

Karen’s Picks

DeafSpace – Campus Design and Planning | Gallaudet University. Learn how to introduce the concept of DeafSpace into your design plans. 

A designer’s reading list on disability and design

Disability Pride:

Demystifying Disability: What to know, What to say and how to be an Ally by Emily Ladau

Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century by Alice Wong

Being Heumann: An Unrepentant Memoir of a Disability Rights Activist by Judy Heumann

Sitting Pretty: The View from My Ordinary Resilient Disabled Body by Rebekah Taussig

Intersection of Disability and Design:

Building Access: Universal Design and the Politics of Disability by Aimi Hamraie

Accessible America by Bess Williamson

What Can a Body Do? How We Meet the Built World by Sara Hendren

Design Justice: Community-Led Practices to Build the Worlds We Need by Sasha Costanza-Chock

Mismatch: How Inclusion Shapes Design by Kat Holmes

Join us at our next event

Leaders never stop learning. Stay in touch to get access to future events at The Shop. You never know what experts will join us there next.