Universal Design Benefits All Ages and Abilities
The Center for Universal Design - North Carolina State University
Universal Design provides improved access for all of us who at some time in our lives have difficulty with opening heavy doors, reaching items that are low or high and negotiating stairs or curbs. The goal of Universal Design is to create products and build environments that are usable by all people to the greatest extent possible and at multiple life stages without the need for adaptation or specialized design. Automatic door openers, high/low drinking fountains, curb ramps, ramps, elevators and lifts, and larger restrooms with higher toilets and grab bars are some of the ways environments can become universally accessible.
The seven principles of Universal Design are:
- PRINCIPLE ONE: Equitable Use
The design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities.
- PRINCIPLE TWO: Flexibility in Use
The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities.
- PRINCIPLE THREE: 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 FOUR: Perceptible Information
The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user's sensory abilities.
- PRINCIPLE FIVE: Tolerance for Error
The design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions.
- PRINCIPLE SIX: Low Physical Effort
The design can be used efficiently and comfortably and with a minimum of fatigue.
- PRINCIPLE SEVEN: 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.