Universal Design


For this weeks assignment we were asked to find an example of visual literacy and universal design. I found this image on a site called Being Visual by Bette Fetter. The sight is mostly designed to advertise a book by the same title but also has plenty of great ideas on how to help preschoolers become more visually literate. I was particularly drawn to this image because the bedtime routine of my 5 and 3 year old. Going to bed at night can be a bit hectic pulling the kids away from their drawings or videos or crafts.

This image communicates a chronological list of instructions that need to be checked off before they are ready to sleep. By putting it in list form and giving it to the kids, they are able to take responsibility and think of the nighttime routine as a mission and hopefully put up less of a struggle when it’s bedtime. The author suggests that lists like this “empower children to act independently, lessen power struggles and discipline issues, while building a child’s confidence and sense of self” (Fetter, 2013).  The universal design can be understood by a wide range of young children because it uses both icons and words. This also helps make connections between language and objects, which builds visual literacy skills. Dr. Anne Bamford, Director of Visual Arts at Art and Design University of Technology Sydney writes, “Visual literacy levels directly determine our level of visual comprehension and the ability of the individual to be able to read images in a meaningful way” (Bamford 2003). I feel that using charts like this will foster this ability to read images in meaningful ways.

On a side note, if I was to add anything to this list, I might add an empty box to the right of each step were my children could put stickers when they have completed the item. This would improve motivation and reinforce this routine.

Bamford, A. (2003). The visual literacy white pages. Adobe Systems Pty Ltd. Australia. Retrieved from http://adobe.ly/WEUSx2

Fetter, B. (2013). Preschool activities: Bedtime Chart. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/WXfu4D