Universal Design, Inclusive Design, Good Design
The term “Universal Design” was first used by Ron Mace, founder and program director of The Center for Universal Design. Mace, along with a team of architects, environmental researchers, engineers and product designers defined universal design as “the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design”. This same team of professionals developed a set of seven principles which guide designers in the development of products and environments to maximize usability and accessibility.
The Principles of Universal Design
Equitable Use – The design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities.
Flexibility in Use – The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities.
Simple and Intuitive Use – Use of the design is easy to understand, regardless of the user’s experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level.
Perceptible Information – The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user’s sensory abilities.
Tolerance for Error – The design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions.
Low Physical Effort – The design can be used efficiently and comfortably and with a minimum of fatigue.
Size and Space for Approach and Use – Appropriate size and space is provided for approach, reach, manipulation, and use regardless of user’s body size, posture, or mobility.
Source: North Carolina State University, Center for Universal Design
The crafters of these principles recognized the power that design has to include or exclude disabled people. They also promoted the idea that accessible design can be aesthetically pleasing. When access is considered during the planning phase of the design, inclusive design can, in fact, be beautiful.
While the concept of universal design originated with the built environment, it is now applied in education and digital environments. In future issues, we’ll explore principles that guide design in other environments.
Explore more about the impact of inclusive design with the Disability and Design module of the Disability as Diversity Programming Toolkit.
Our thanks to the Southwest ADA Center for funding this project.
- The Center for Universal Design – NC State University
- Ed Roberts Campus
- Institute for Human Centered Design
- Smart Cities 4 All
- The Universal Design Project
Sponsored by ADA National Network and the U.S. Access Board
Accessible Exterior Routes and Surfaces
Thursday, November 1, 2018
1:30 PM Central Time Zone
Register for the Accessible Routes and Surfaces Webinar here!
Sponsored by Great Lakes ADA Center
Creating Accessible Documents with Adobe InDesign
Thursday, November 15, 2018
1:00 PM Central Time Zone
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About Explore Access
exploreaccess.org is a web resource developed through a project of the Southwest ADA Center Regional Affiliate – Arkansas, a program of UA Partners for Inclusive Communities through funding from the Southwest ADA Center (90DP0092).