In order to improve the accessibility of the built environment, the Macao SAR Government appointed The Hong Kong Society for Rehabilitation with AD+RG as the consultant to review the Law 9/83/M “Suppression of architectural barriers” and to draft the Universal Design Guidelines for Macao SAR Government. After a series of meetings with the stakeholders, exchange field trip to Hong Kong and other technical meetings with the government departments, The Guidelines have been finalized in February 2018. Two briefing sessions were arranged to introduce the Guidelines to the Macao SAR Government departments and the professionals in the building industry.
The theme of the Guidelines’ cover has a selected contrast color, which was designed to enhance the attractiveness of government guidelines publication, so interest may arise from the laypeople. Furthermore, the cover utilised a standardised colour combination which considers accessibility for visually-impaired people.
TO ENABLE EVERYONE TO READ THE GUIDELINES – VOICE READING
Readers with print impairments are enabled by using Voiceye code at the top corner of every page to access printed information for the Universal Design Guidelines. The text could be magnified displayed in high contrast, or listened as an audio.
TO VISUALIZE THE GUIDELINES – ISOMETRIC DIAGRAM SYSTEM
Instead of traditional methods (plans and sections) which may alienate laypeople, isometric diagrams were fully utilised as an easy way to communicate with readers and to maximize the accessibility of understanding the universal design standards.
URBAN ENGAGEMENT – TO ENGAGE FOR THE GUIDELINES
Site visits allow stakeholders to take reference from existing examples of accessibility facilities from Hong Kong.
Meetings with PWD stakeholders, the Rehabilitation Committee, Working Group, and Technical Group establish a strong workflow for drafting items most relevant to the built environment of Macau.
TO HIGHLIGHT THE GUIDELINES – GOOD CONTRAST AND COLOUR ACCESSIBILITY
Contrast and colour use are vital to accessibility especially for users with visual impairments. With the colours of the foreground and background being considered for the code presentation, the Guidelines were designed with colours that give little to no visual difficulties to readers. The colour contrast, which struck a balance between functionality and aesthetic strike, is suitable for presentation on both digital monitors and prints.
ACCESSIBILITY CONSIDERATION OF URBAN JOURNEY – APPLYING “TRAVEL CHAIN ANALYSIS”
The concept of “Travel Chain Analysis” was applied in the process of designing the standards. Designers need to consider the accessible elements from the beginning of a journey to its destination, as well as any nodes between the two points. These include the streets, the transport vehicles, the drop-off point, the destination building’s interiors, and the function of the destination itself.
While architects are responsible for the accessibility in the two ends of the travel chain, the process spreads across many disciplines. Urban design would be considered in how people may move easily and efficiently in the outdoor urban environment, whether they’re on-foot or onboard vehicles.
During engagements, stakeholders are taught on travel chain analysis so they know that the development of the guidelines are based on a user-based approach.