As Paris 2024 and Brisbane 2032 approach, developing a Universal Design Guide for Inclusive Sport with Paralympics Australia.

 

Learn more about this project

Challenge

Paralympics Australia helps Australians with disabilities participate in sport and compete at the Paralympic Games through partnerships with governments, business, sporting bodies and the community. With the ramp up to the Brisbane 2032 Olympics well underway, Paralympics Australia was increasingly fielding calls from sporting organisations and venues keen to achieve higher standards of accessibility and inclusivity.  With high recognition and trust among everyday Australians, blown away by the achievements of Paralympians, Paralympics Australia is ready to lead a new era in inclusive Australia.

Response

One of Paralympics Australia’s (PA’s) strategic goals is to increase access to sports and opportunities via universal, inclusive, and accessible design principles, aimed at promoting accessibility, inclusivity, and equal opportunities within the realm of sports and recreation. Ellis Jones’ work kicked off the progressive development of a comprehensive design strategy that incorporates universal design principles, and which will ultimately enhance access to sports facilities, documentation, training, and learning and development for people with a disability.

Ellis Jones’ initial strategic framing of the project guided PA through different important considerations such as: what role would the organisation play as a progenitor of universal design; where should PA look to extend and deepen its own adoption of universal design; and, what behaviour-informed strategies would be required for motivating sports organisations to use the guide.

Project activity comprised:

  • Benchmarking universal design best practice through a literature review and assessment of available resources.
  • Interviews with leading sports organisation representatives in different roles and codes.
  • Facilitating Paralympics Australia leadership discussions/
  • Modelling and reporting on research outcomes.
  • Writing and designing a ‘how to’ guide with supporting materials.
  • Presenting the guide in an interactive workshop with Paralympics staff at the annual ‘House Party’ collaboration event at Sydney Olympic Park.

Outcome

“I am immensely proud of the work we have completed with Ellis Jones on the Universal Design Guide project. The project team’s dedication to inclusivity have resulted in a guide that is not only comprehensive but also accessible and user-friendly. This project has significantly enhanced our ability to promote universal design principles, ensuring that all individuals, regardless of ability, can participate fully in our programs. This pivotal project will make a lasting impact on our organisation and the broader community and is just the start of our Universal Design Journey”. – Geoff Quinlan – Head of Strategy and Brisbane 2032 Coordination at Paralympics Australia

The Universal Design Guide for creating Inclusive Sport in Australia now acts as a valuable reference for sports representative bodies adopting inclusive practices, as well as sports clubs and venues that want to get started on the journey.

The guide addresses structural, process and attitudinal barriers to inclusivity and universal design and comprises:

  • Definitions of accessibility, inclusivity and universal design
  • How to adopt an inclusive mindset and language
  • Motivating case studies
  • Focus activities for universal design
  • Practical guides for: hosting a universal design kick-off meeting, developing inclusive strategy, producing accessible documentation, and designing accessible inclusive digital experiences.

A ‘living document’, through user testing the guide will be refined and updated as Paralympics Australia builds its presence and activity to make Australian sport accessible and inclusive.

Importantly, this work is a key means by which Australia is meeting the commitment it made to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

 

Image showing cover of the universal design guide
Image of hand bike para-athletes competing in Austria courtesy of Kaunertal
Image showing page spread of universal design guide
Image showing page spread of universal design guide
Image showing page spread of universal design guide
Jonathan Georlach competes in the Paratriathlon at Odiaba Bay, 2020 Tokyo Paralympic Game