Universal design of behind-the-counter workspaces
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This design thesis is part of CATEA's RERC workplace accommodations grant, and it adopts a human centered design methodology to research, develop, test and evaluate designs of behind-the-counter workspaces that maximize independence and participation of employees and increase their employment possibilities. Preliminary research shows that current designs of behind-the-counter workspaces do not accommodate needs of intended employees including the seated and standing users. According to the research, factors like task design and lack of ease of use have contributed to job loss and reduced employment. Through participatory research techniques and ergonomic studies, this project identified accessibility and usability needs and outlined basic and extended design guidelines for behind-the-counter workstations that would address these needs. Results from observational research, usability studies and user interviews were analysed to create design specifications for a range of workstations. The resulting workstation designs incorporate universal design guidelines and aim to expand employment opportunities for people with disabilities and older adults.