What is Universal Design?



THERE ARE VARYING DEGREES OF ADAPTIVE DESIGN, THE HIGHEST BEING UNIVERSAL DESIGN. IN 2005 THE TERM WAS COINED AND HAS GIVEN A NEW PERSPECTIVE IN WHICH TO CREATE BUILDINGS, PRODUCTS, AND TECHNOLOGY.

“UNIVERSAL DESIGN IS THE DESIGN AND COMPOSITION OF AN ENVIRONMENT SO THAT IT CAN BE ACCESSED, UNDERSTOOD AND USED TO THE GREATEST EXTENT POSSIBLE BY ALL PEOPLE REGARDLESS OF THEIR AGE, SIZE, ABILITY OR DISABILITY.” -NATIONAL DISABILITY AUTHORITY

UNIVERSAL DESIGN IS NOT A SYNONYM FOR ADA OR ACCESSIBLE DESIGN. UNIVERSAL DESIGN STANDARDS TAKE IT TO THE NEXT LEVEL BY THINKING OF EVERY SINGLE KIND OF USER AND THE BEST WAYS TO MAXIMIZE THEIR USER EXPERIENCE. INCLUDING THE AESTHETICS OF THE SPACE OR PRODUCT. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO SEPARATE UNIVERSAL DESIGN FROM THE HIGH LEVEL OF AESTHETICS BECAUSE THEY ARE COHESIVE WITH EACH OTHER. UD UNDERSTANDS THAT THE BEST EXPERIENCE OF THE USER INCLUDES THE FEELING AND SURROUNDINGS OF GOOD DESIGN. CREATING STERILE, HOSPITAL-LIKE SURROUNDINGS IS NOT GOOD UNIVERSAL DESIGN.

TO MAXIMIZE THE ABILITY OF THE USER, UNIVERSAL DESIGN HAS 7 PRINCIPLES


1: EQUITABLE USE

THE DESIGN PROVIDES EQUAL ABILITY FOR USE FOR ALL USERS.

EXAMPLE: CURB-LESS ENTRY WITH FLAT GROUND INTO BUILDINGS

2: FLEXIBILITY IN USE

THE DESIGN PROVIDES MULTIPLE CHOICES SO USERS CAN CHOOSE WHAT BEST SUITS THEIR NEEDS.

EXAMPLE: PROVIDING BOTH ELECTRONIC OR PAPER METHODS TO COMPLETE PAPERWORK.

3: SIMPLE & INTUITIVE USE

THE DESIGN PROVIDES AN EASY METHOD TO UNDERSTAND AND OPERATE, THE MOST EFFICIENT AND SIMPLE WAY TO ACHIEVE THE GOAL.

EXAMPLE: AUTOMATIC DOORS, THE OPEN WHEN YOU APPROACH.

4: PERCIEPTIBLE INFORMATION

THE DESIGN COMMUNICATES NECESSARY INFORMATION CLEARLY AND EFFECTIVELY TO ALL USERS

EXAMPLE: PROVIDING LARGE LETTERING ON SIGNS WITH HIGH CONTRAST, BRAILE, AND PICTURE DEPICTION TO REITERATE THE MESSAGE.

5: TOLERANCE FOR ERROR

THE DESIGN MINIMIZES HAZARDS AND ROOM FOR ERROR WHEN INTHE SPACE OR OPERATING PRODUCTS

EXAMPLE: DESIGNING ELEVATORS WITH FAIL-SAFE OPTIONS AND POWER BACKUP IN CASE OF BREAKDOWN OR POWER OUTAGE

6: LOW PHYSICAL EFFORT

THE DESIGN CAN BE USED EFFECTIVELY WITH A MINIMUM AMOUNT OF FATIGUE

EXAMPLE: PLACING DRINK STATIONS AT CHAIR HEIGHT WITH EASY TO REACH BUTTONS FOR OPERATING

7: SIZE AND SPACE FOR APPROACH AND USE

THE DESIGN PROVIDES APPROPRIATE SPACE FOR THE USER TO DO EVERYTHING THEY ARE NEEDED TO WITH EASE AND COMFORT

EXAMPLE: CREATING 5 FOOT TURN RADIUS IN PUBLIC BATHROOMS BY THE LARGE STALL, SINK, AND DOOR FOR EASY MANEUVERING.



WE HAVE SOME LEGISLATION IN EFFECT IN OUR COUNTRY TO ENSURE THE RIGHTS OF PEOPLES WITH DISABILITIES, BUT AS OF NOW UNIVERSAL DESIGN IS A CHOICE. THOUGH HUGE PROGRESS HAS BEEN MADE TO BETTER THE ABILITIES OF PEOPLE, THERE ARE ALWAYS IMPROVEMENTS THAT CAN BE MADE. THE MOST RECENT OF LEGISLATION PASSED HAS BEEN THE AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT IN 1990 AND THE TELECOMMUNICATIONS ACT OF 1996. TOGETHER THESE WERE PASSED TO ENDURE THE EQUAL RIGHTS TO TRANSPORTATION, HOUSING, SERVICES, EDUCATION, EMPLOYMENT, AND TELECOMMUNICATIONS. SOME AREA OF OUR COUNTRY ARE MOST ACCESSIBLE THAN OTHERS, BUT IN NO AREA IS IT REQUIRED TO IMPLEMENT UNIVERSAL DESIGN.

UNIVERSAL DESIGN IS NOT “ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL” BUT RATHER GIVING ALL THE SIZES FOR EVERYBODY. IT MAXIMIZES USE FOR EVERY SINGLE PERSON INSTEAD OF APPEALING TO THE MAJORITY.

WHEN A GROUP OF PEOPLE BECOME BETTER, EVERY GROUP OF PEOPLE BECOMES BETTER.

GOOD DESIGN ELEVATES THE EXPERIENCE OF ALL USERS, THEREFORE ELEVATING ALL EXPERIENCES.



SOURCES

HTTPS://WWW.UDLL.COM/

HTTP://WWW.UNIVERSALDESIGN.COM/

HTTPS://WWW.WBDG.ORG/DESIGN-OBJECTIVES/AESTHETICS

HTTP://UNIVERSALDESIGN.IE/WHAT-IS-UNIVERSAL-DESIGN/

HTTPS://PROJECTS.NCSU.EDU/NCSU/DESIGN/CUD/ABOUT_UD/UDHISTORY.HTM