Designing public toilets to enhance the well-being of the visually impaired

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Although barrier-free access has been advocated for several decades, individuals with visual impairment still face many difficulties in their daily lives, particularly in gaining access to public spaces and facilities. Public toilets are one of the most important, but also most difficult, of these facilities for the visually impaired to access. On the one hand, those with visual impairment often find it difficult to ask for assistance in this particular environment. On the other, most of these individuals would like to be independent in accessing public toilets. Drawing on a Hong Kong case study, this paper first reviews the difficulties that the visually impaired have in accessing public spaces. Focusing on public toilets, the paper reviews and identifies the deficiencies in existing environmental and facility designs. It then discusses ways to improve the design of public toilets to improve the well-being of the visually impaired. The discussion in this paper focuses on the three major levels of design (i.e., policy, implementation, and management) and four design aspects (i.e., friendly, informative, safe, and hygienic).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-145
Number of pages9
JournalInternational journal of health, wellness & society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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