WHAT IS UNIVERSAL DESIGN?

WHAT IS UNIVERSAL DESIGN?

2018-08-25T16:03:49+00:00 August 25th, 2018|

EVERY AGE ABILITY AND STATUS

Universal Design utilizes a set of principles to create products, buildings and environments that are both aesthetically pleasing and inherently accessible to as broad a range of people as possible, regardless of age, ability or status. The principles of this design philosophy were a reaction against traditional handicapped accessible spaces and adaptive technology that frequently limited the function of a space and was, all too often, very ugly.

EXAMPLES OF UNIVERSAL DESIGN

  • Sidewalk ramps that are essential for people in wheelchairs but also used by everyone else
  • Low-floor buses that bring their front end to ground level to eliminate the gap so mothers with strollers, young people with bikes or people in wheelchairs have easy access
  • Clear large print labels to assist people who have visual limitations
  • Lever handles for opening doors rather than twisting knobs
  • Bright and appropriate lighting, particularly task lighting

7 PRINCIPLES

The term Universal Design is attributed to the architect Ronald L. Mace. In 1997 at North Carolina State University, he led a group of architects, product designers, engineers and environmental design researchers to develop the 7 principles of Universal Design, which are:

  • Equitable use
  • Flexibility in use
  • Simple and intuitive
  • Perceptible information
  • Tolerance for error
  • Low physical effort
  • Size and space for approach and use

PERFECT FOR BABY BOOMERS

The concept of Universal Design is growing in popularity as life expectancy continues to improve and Baby Boomers are redefining retirement. Modern medicine has also increased the survival rate and quality of life for people who experience illness, injury and disabilities. Homes that are built according to Universal Design principles do not need to be modified as drastically if the occupant’s range of physical abilities suddenly changes.