Universal Design

Universal Design is a worldwide movement promoting design concepts and principles to support an expanding demographic of people living with a wide array of disabilities, age-related limitations, and chronic health conditions. Universal Design is the creation of products and environments meant to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without need for adaptation or specialization. The primary focus of universal design has revolved around elements of the home and development of user-friendly products. Many homes, offices, and public buildings have undergone simple transformations that enable access to all persons; this re-design of an environment can range from small gadgets to fairly extensive transformations.

Seven Principals of Universal Design

There are seven basic principles of Universal Design. These principles can be applied to evaluate existing environments or products, serve as guidelines in the development or renovation of existing environments, and serve to educate consumers and professionals wanting to understand the characteristics of this design approach.

Principle 1: Equitable Use
The design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities.

Principle 2: Flexibility in Use
The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities.

Principle 3: 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.

Principle 4: Perceptible Information
The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions of the user’s sensory abilities.

Principle 5: Tolerance for Error
The design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions.

Principle 6: Low Physical Effort
The design can be used efficiently and comfortably, and with a minimum of fatigue.

Principle 7: Size and Space for Approach and Use
Appropriate size and space is provided for approach, reach, manipulation, and use, regardless of the user’s body size, posture, or mobility.

Information courtesy of Ohio AgrAbility

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