Sarah: [00:00:00] You’re Listening to Good Fit Poor Fit. A podcast that explores the interaction between people, design, and activity. Good Fit Poor Fit is part of The Universal Design Project, a nonprofit organization with a vision for every community across the USA to have a surplus of homes and opportunities for social participation that are universally and financially accessible.
[00:00:27] Learn more at universaldesign.org.
[00:00:31] Hey, Good Fit Poor Fit listeners. Welcome to our 50th episode celebration! Today we are going to share our team and listeners favorite episodes, topics, and aha moments, you know, things that make you step back and think about design and people a little differently. First off, I want to give a big thank you to our previous OT student, Kati Richardson, who helped get this podcast off and running.
[00:00:56] Kati, you led the way to people learning more about universal design and collaboration and occupational therapy. In fact, our current OT student, Sally, found us through this podcast. Second, I feel it’s appropriate to share a little backstory. We started this podcast in early 2020 recording in the same room around a microphone, which was before COVID was on any of our minds. The world started shutting down and we suddenly found ourselves needing to figure out a way to record remotely. Thank goodness for technology and making the transition an easy one. But this change, coincidentally paved the way for us to add on team members like Rebecca and more students from different parts of the country to jump in and continue to help in the podcast.
[00:01:43] In addition, it was then easy to bring in guests to do other interviews, to get other’s perspective on different topics. If you want to know more about how we came up with our name, Good Fit Poor Fit, head on over to episode number two.
[00:01:57] So while we were working on this podcast, I reached out to Kati and asked her to contribute to this milestone episode. And what is quite interesting was that her response had to do with the pandemic, which started when she was working with us. In fact, we recorded episode number 12 together about finding ways to stay socially distanced and preserve our mental health, before she finished up her internship. In the quote she provided for this episode, she said, “The pandemic opened my eyes to the isolation people with disabilities experience when the environment doesn’t accommodate them. Being locked inside my house with practically no access to some of my favorite occupations visiting friends and family, trying out new restaurants, going to the movie theater, had a huge impact on my mental health and well-being. This is something many people with physical impairments experience when the built environment doesn’t allow for them to engage in their meaningful activities. This is something that truly opened my eyes to how important universal design is.”
[00:03:00] Oftentimes, we talk about how people don’t understand the need for universal design until they experience something themselves. And while Kati had an excellent grasp on UD as a student with us, the pandemic, and some of our episodes discussing the effects of COVID, number 24 and 47, really helped her consider the benefits of a functional home.
[00:03:22] So before we continue down memory lane with some of our teams and listeners favorite episodes, I want to share the top two most listened to episodes thus far, drum roll, please.
[00:03:35] Audio sound of a drum roll
[00:03:36] Drum roll continues…
[00:03:38] The first one that had the most listens was Free-standing Tubs, number 15, and the second one was number 11, Stramps.
[00:03:47] If you turn on any home renovation show, you’re bound to see the homeowners drooling over the soaking tubs when they’re definitely not safe. Also I’ve seen stramps or stairs and ramps integrated into many an outdoor space as a modern way to integrate accessibility into the same spot to an entrance, versus have one entrance for people that can do steps and another entrance around the back with a ramp. Tune into both of those episodes to learn more about why each of these things aren’t particularly universal.
[00:04:20] Rebecca: It’s kind of ironic that the two most listened to episodes are actually about items that aren’t particularly universal, but I sort of have a hunch that people are just curious about what in the world a stramp is. And I don’t blame you listeners because I wondered as well. But anyway, let’s start talking about some of the other highlights from our first 50.
[00:04:41] I may be biased, but I believe that our number one fan is actually my number one Mom-Mom. That means my grandma. And when I asked her about some of her favorite Good Fit Poor Fit moments, she had quite a bit to say. She told me that she loved episode 31: Designing for the Senses. She liked to learn about autism and sensory features in the environment and said she had never thought about having protected areas with lower sensory experiences, lights on dimmers, and appropriate furniture for various sensory needs. She found it to be a great discussion on autism barriers. In this episode, we spoke with Dr. Katie Hanson. So I do want to make sure that we give her another shout out too.
[00:05:23] My Mom-mom also mentioned that she loved our recent episode about invisible universal design. She said, quote, it showed how universal design works for everyone with commonplace things like steps, curbs, handles for cooking utensils, and zippers. So many things the average person doesn’t think about. Sensors to change traffic lights, keyless car entry. All of these things, and designed to help a diverse population. When she told me this, I realized the power of conversations like those we have on Good Fit Poor Fit because my Mom-mom had no idea what universal design was before I started doing the work that I do. The statement that I just shared demonstrates a pretty thorough understanding of what it is and its impact on all people, and that’s pretty incredible. Also on a personal level, I’m just so grateful to have been able to share my passion with my Mom-mom and our listeners through this podcast.
[00:06:17] Lauren: I agree with your Mom-mom, Rebecca, I really enjoyed the invisible universal design episode too. And I also really liked the one on designing for dementia, which was episode number 26. One discussion was on the overall home layout. An open floor plan with a simple and intuitive layout that provides logical transitions between rooms would obviously be beneficial for everyone to have in their home. But it was so interesting to me as these two episodes discussed how this would be especially helpful for those with low vision, dementia, or autism. I kept thinking how great it would be if a person with dementia already lived in a universally designed home that was laid out in this way, and didn’t have to try to relearn how to do their daily routines in a new and unfamiliar environment when their loved ones realized they needed a more accommodating home environment.
[00:07:07] Rebecca: Definitely true, Lauren. Also, I’m so glad that you enjoyed that episode about designing for dementia because it was my debut episode, so to speak.
[00:07:16] Lauren: Yes. That was such a great episode. I think a lot of people immediately think of those with physical impairments benefiting from a more functional home design, but these episodes mentioned how, for example, having bedrooms on the first floor would accommodate all residents. This includes those that have difficulty with navigating stairs, but also someone who has PTSD and appreciates how having a bedroom near the entrance of the home would allow for them to feel like they could protect their home and their family. I never would have thought about that. Considering the benefits functional home design provides for those with invisible disabilities really made me stop and think about how truly universal and encompassing universal design can be.
[00:07:58] When I reached out to others to contribute to this episode, my professor and faculty mentor, Dr. Ryan, added to this conversation by discussing his favorite podcast, which also happens to be the 44th episode about invisible universal design. Dr. Ryan actually has research experience on this topic related to assistive technology and augmentative and alternative communication devices, which can include things like walkers, shower chairs, speech generating devices, and communication boards.
[00:08:28] His research allowed him to learn more about the abandonment rate of some of these kinds of devices by users when they are not seen as a seamless extension of themselves; in other words, invisible. He summed his thoughts up on this podcast saying, “The idea of invisibility resonates so deeply with me as an OT because we live on the idea of inclusivity for those with disabilities, and we are the creative ones of the therapy disciplines. Who better to develop universally designed items than us that allow for a seamless inclusion that can be adopted by those with and without disabilities?”
[00:09:03] Sally: I also loved the invisible universal design episode and just the idea of invisibility in general, in the context of design. Creating cool, sleek products and devices that are a seamless extension of the user will lead to a better user experience, which could ultimately decrease the abandonment rate of these devices. Making products that look aesthetically pleasing can also help to reduce the stigma of using medical equipment and devices.
[00:09:31] Many listeners shared input about their favorite products and universally designed home features with us. So now I want to switch the conversation over to talk about our favorite products for the home, as well as our listeners favorite products, I will start off with one of my favorite universally designed products, which is a bidet.
[00:09:50] One of our team members, Tiffany, mentioned the bidet in her UD and Me episode, which is number 37. And so this is how I came across this idea. I just think this is such a great example of universal design because of how functional it is for everyone, not to mention a more eco-friendly and budget-friendly option.
[00:10:10] It’s not a product I ever would have thought about if it wasn’t for Tiffany’s input. But when I got to thinking about it, I realized how many different people could benefit from this product, including individuals with limited reach ranges, maybe people on post-op sternal precautions who can’t reach behind their backs, or maybe even for a child who was potty training and needs a little bit of extra assistance to clean up after toileting.
[00:10:35] In other words, a bidet is great for people who, for whatever reason, cannot reach behind their backs to wipe, or those with limited, fine motor control who have difficulties manipulating the toilet paper. With a modern bidet, you can complete your toileting tasks with a simple press of a button, which I think is super cool and very universal.
[00:10:55] A few listeners also shared some of their favorite home products and home features, which included grab bars and the placement of appliances. One listener shared that she liked our discussion in episode 40 about dishwasher height. Raising a dishwasher off of the ground can decrease the amount of bending over when loading and unloading, which is very helpful if you have issues with your back or your knees.
[00:11:18] This same listener also is interested in our discussion about grab bars and how there’s actually a lot of thought that goes into the placement of this device, depending on where they’re going, what they’re being used for, and the individual’s height and grasp function. Also, you have to consider your aesthetic preferences and decide if you would rather go for a sleeker more modern option that is maybe a little bit less functional and safe, or if you are okay with the more medical-looking, but sturdy and reliable grab bars.
[00:11:50] Rebecca: Uh, yes. I remember putting some of these episodes together, dishwashers and grab bars were some of the bulkier episodes, I would say, as I’m sure Sarah recalls.
[00:12:03] Sarah: Oh, yes, Rebecca, our design advisors were a big help for those episodes and gave us a lot of information to sift through. I love when we’re able to poll them and gather their input for these podcasts. They’re so helpful. And it’s a really great way for our design advisors to educate and advocate others through their involvement with our organization.
[00:12:25 ] Rebecca: I couldn’t agree more. The cool thing is though we’ve also gotten to branch out and talk about some more UD topics outside of the home, too. We have Sally and Lauren to thank in part for that. But also Tiffany, one of our team members, and a few other listeners have appreciated these more recent episodes about vacation and outdoor activities for summer as these topics are timely and they widened the scope of universal design far beyond the home.
[00:12:53] My personal favorite episode was the one in which we interviewed Denise Levine in from the IDEA Center at The University of Buffalo. I found her to be a true universal design champion and thought her description of the universally designed hotel that she had just worked on was absolutely eye-opening and a chance to envision what a truly universally designed future could look like in our community.
[00:13:16] Sarah: Yes, Rebecca. I think we can all learn so much from her experiences. On that note, I can share a few of my favorite episodes too. I love hearing personal stories and the quotes we gathered in two health and housing episodes numbers 18 and 22 really impacted me. Inadequate housing has so many additional considerations. It’s much more than just features. It’s mental health, socialization, finances, and relationships.
[00:13:44] We have more personal stories coming up in some episodes that Sally and Lauren are currently working on in our Candid Conversations mini-series. We’re going to bring in some voices from our YouTube channel interviews so you’ll want to keep tuned in for those in the very near future.
[00:14:02] Sally: Yes. We have a few of those episodes in the works right now, and we are very excited to share them with you soon and get some more voices heard on the podcast. But for today, I’d like to wrap up our conversation, or celebration of sorts, by sharing some of our favorite listener comments and feedback.
[00:14:19] One of our design advisors says “Good Fit Poor Fit has lots of memorable podcasts that continue to influence culture and daily practice.”
[00:14:30] Another quote from a board member is “The Good Fit Poor Fit podcast provides practical and engaging conversations about community accessibility in a format that is easy on the ears and full of helpful content. The conversation style of the host is very relaxed and friendly, which makes the listening experience a positive addition to my day.”
[00:14:51] And finally, to wrap up, we will end with Rebecca’s Mom-mom, who so lovingly shared that what she liked most about the podcast was how specific we were in offering solutions to so many barriers that people come across and how universal design is there to tackle those stumbling blocks. She also appreciates the presentation and how it’s always professional, well-spoken, and the little personal tidbits thrown in there from time to time, which make it more real. And she says, “Happy Anniversary, Good Fit Poor Fit podcast.” And we thank you, Rebecca’s Mom-mom for being our number one fan.
[00:15:29] Some of our team members made some good suggestions about future podcasts, including expanding on outdoor recreation opportunities, such as exploring accessibility at outdoor social gatherings, like summer barbecues, which is definitely timely and very relevant right now.
[00:15:45] And another team member also suggested that we incorporate more conversation about why universal design matters, especially for those without disabilities, or who are not currently facing barriers. I think this is a very important message that will help universal design become more widely accepted and hopefully one day the norm for design.
[00:16:04] Rebecca: Good point, Sally, there’s plenty to look forward to both in the world of universal design and in the next 50 episodes of Good Fit Poor Fit. Before we wrap up today, I just want to say one more thank you to all of our contributors and listeners. It’s been a great ride learning from, and with, all of you. Happy 50th to Good Fit Poor Fit and here’s to many more!
[00:16:25] Sarah: Thanks for listening to Good Fit Poor Fit. I’m your host Sarah Pruett, Program Director and Occupational Therapist at The Universal Design Project. Learn more about our work at universaldesign.org, and find more episodes and links to subscribe at goodfitpoorfit.com If you have questions or topics you’d like to discuss, email us at [email protected]
[00:16:56] Thanks for fitting us into your day!