No standards are required
While visitability is a design concept that typically is lesser-known than its closely related cousin universal design, we should be governed in its use by application and common sense.
From a purely numbers sense, universal design has seven principles, and visitability has three standards, yet both require no guidelines to be successfully implemented and used.
Rely on common sense
The underlying principle for both universal design and visitability is that no one is inconvenienced or kept from using a basic feature of or within the home. This could just happen, but likely it is the result of intentional planning.
Rather than following a set of guidelines, if there are specific ones that apply, creating a visitable entry and floor plan is being mindful of how we use our home, how guests that we invite into space can use it, and our clients and their guests might use their space. We want people, regardless of any mobility challenges they currently are experiencing or might in the future, to be able to enter our home and navigate it well. This includes us also.
We should look at a space inside our home or in the approach area leading to our home and ask if it presents or could provide any challenges for anyone attempting to use that part of our home. A thoughtful and intentional common sense design makes sure that it does not, to the extent we can foresee what potential issues might be.
The key is accommodating everyone
While attempting to accommodate the needs of everyone can seem like a tall order because we haven’t met or seen everyone, we can do our best to make sure that there are no awkward situations where someone might have difficulty or limitations in using hallways, doorways, entrances, bathrooms, or other areas of our home or theirs.
Accommodation would be a great synonym for visitability – but not in a regulation or requirement sense. If we evaluate how well someone can use the interior space of a home – ours, theirs, or someone whom they are visiting – and then decide on how we want to make it more accommodating for people in general, we will have made major strides toward creating visitability solutions.