We’ve all encountered a situation where we’ve looked round and despaired at the configuration of something, and probably made a disparaging remark along the lines that it was designed by someone who had no pertinent experience.

However, whereas much of daily life has been designed creating a gender data gap (*), and despite our supposedly living in an inclusive society, we too often fail to take disability data into account.

Changing Places campaigners will endorse this, citing numerous examples of facilities they have visited, yet been unable to use.

Common issues include ceiling track hoists where the ceiling is not high enough to allow for the hoist to be used effectively, to lift and transfer, where placement of fixtures and fitting hamper the use of the hoist, where a mirror or shelf is fixed too high for someone in a wheelchair to use.

The provider has done what they think is right. They may even have consulted the relevant documentation and Standards. But they have applied their own perspective to the installation. They have not considered the room, its layout, its fixtures, from the user’s perspective.

It’s an easy fix. Ask the experts. There are scores of accessibility consultants and auditors who can advise. Equally, reputable equipment providers should be suitably aware of the ramifications of installation and use.

We’ve made it even easier, and have produced a quick reference guide that addresses the ten most common things to do to achieve a successful, useable Changing Places. You can find it here

(*) Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men, Caroline Criado-Perez.