Universal design is a design approach that aims to create environments and products that are accessible to a diverse range of human abilities regardless of age, presence of impairment, or circumstance. Central to this approach is the belief that accessible features should be part of the overall design, not just as stand alone features that comply with basic accessibility standards.
The Principles of Universal Design and their guidelines were developed by a working group of architects, product designers, engineers, and environmental design researchers as part of a project coordinated by the Center for Universal Design at North Carolina State University. The seven Principles that describe characteristics that make designs universally usable are:
- Equitable Use
- Flexibility in Use
- Simple and Intuitive Use
- Perceptible Information
- Tolerance for Error
- Low Physical Effort
- Size and Space for Approach and Use
Universal Design.com is a website managed by the IDeA Center, an international center of excellence in the field of universal design. The website contains resources and information on the universal design approach as well as links to training, organizations, and events.