Principles of Universal Design

About Universal Design

“The design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.” — Ron Mace, the founder and program director of North Carolina State’s Center for Universal Design. Mace is credited with coining the term ‘universal design’ and was at the forefront of the concept and a leading advocate for the rights of people with disabilities. Universal design is based on these seven key principles:

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

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

3. Simple and Intuitive: Use of the design is easy to understand, regardless of the user’s experience, knowledge, language skills or current concentration level.

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

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

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

7. 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.

 

Source: The Center for Universal Design, North Carolina State, www.design.ncsu.edu/cud/

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