Since I was paying my own way to Midwest UX, I decided to be frugal and stay in the Holiday Inn, rather than one of the nicer, official conference hotels. The room was cheaper, the parking was cheaper, and the internet access was free. I don’t know why, but I was assigned a handicap room. Of course, being a designer, I found this to be fascinating, because it prompted me to think about my environment in a completely different way. Here are the observations I made.
- The room had a “doorbell”. I didn’t test it, but I’m assuming it would cause a light to flash in the room to alert a deaf occupant that someone is at the door.
- Entering the room for the first time was bizarrely disorienting. I’m used to hotel rooms being relatively crowded. This one was comparatively spacious with wide spaces between everything. Portions of the room were just bare. It’s kind of silly, but it felt disconcerting.
- The coat/clothes rack was low—about waste high.
- Rather than the little curtain pulls, there were rods the height of the entire window with large handles on the ends.
- The shower did not have a recessed basin. It was floor-level, and big enough for three to stand in.
- There was a large bench at the back of the shower that folded down from the wall.
- The shower head was of the handheld kind on a flexible hose and was mounted on a vertical pole. It could slide up and down the pole to adjust its height.
- The entire second floor of the hotel seemed to be handicapped rooms. Being on the second floor, the view out of my window was the roof of the first floor. I was basically staring at the side of the HVAC system. However, if I sat down, I couldn’t see that. The only thing in view was the sky.
- The bathroom was on the outside wall. Just as the main room, it had windows all along that wall, but with heavy wooden blinds. I can’t imagine anyone ever opening them.
A lot of this is just common sense once you think about it, but I never have to think about it.