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Hadassah, Jerusalem, 2013

Challenge Workshop, Hadassah Academic College, Jerusalem, Israel
19-24 May 2013

Hadassah Academic College’s main building dates back to 1888 and was originally a hospital, then a trade school for girls, finally becoming a college in 1972. The College trains audiologists, optometrists and speech therapists and is home to the Adler Centre centred on Aphasia – a condition characterised by loss of the ability to understand or express speech due to brain damage often as a result of a stroke. The centre’s goal is to help people with Aphasia improve communication and language function and enhance their quality of life. It runs. Team members were drawn from participants of the weekly clinics and classes the centre runs. They became the design partners for three teams comprising of fourth year industrial design students of the Hadassah Academic College.

These teams asked to design a low-tech personal communication aid or set of aids that could be customised simply to suit the context, the patient and the nature of the interaction. Their design solution needed to facilitate and enhance communication between the person living with aphasia, their family, carers and attending medical staff and allow the medical staff to track and document progress.

The second brief to the three wayfinding teams centred on the college building itself asked them to design an effective wayfinding system that would increase the physical and cognitive accessibility of the building for people visiting it for the first time or using it on a regular basis. The issues they were asked to take into account:

  • The cluster of Hadassah's buildings makes wayfinding extremely complicated
  • Disabled people can access the college from only one entrance. Once inside, few paths are accessible to them.
  • Too many signs on the walls: most are temporary, placed in ineffective places and crowded corridors and not removed when out of date
  • No peripheral signage guiding people from the surrounding streets
  • No visible marking on main entrances
  • No location map on the college's website and no information about public transport.