What is Universal Design?

Universal Design is the design of environments, products, and services that can be used by all people—taking into account the full spectrum of human diversity while minimizing the need for adaptations or specialized design. Universal Design is the ultimate in user-centered design because it makes things safer, easier, and more convenient for everyone.

Universal Design is a key principle in environmental and experiential graphic design because EGD and XGD impact such a broad range of users and environments. User-centered research continually adds to the knowledge base about the needs of different users, so Universal Design continues to evolve.

Universal Design incorporates several key principles, including:

  • Equity in usefulness to people with diverse abilities
  • Flexibility to accommodate a wide range of individual preferences and abilities
  • Simplicity and intuitiveness regardless of the user's experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level
  • Effectiveness in communication of information to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user's sensory abilities
  • Minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions
  • Requires low physical effort and minimizes fatigue
  • Provides appropriate space for approach, reach, manipulation, and use regardless of user's body size, posture, or mobility

Using these principles, Universal Design promotes accessibility and results in facilities that meet the needs of all people.

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