Universal Design and Universal Access

For people with a disability (disabled)

The principles of universal design (UD) are simple in nature, yet requires careful consideration to execute successfully. Both a broad view of the application of the design and a focus on the way that the application is carried out are integral for successful UD.

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Principles of Universal Design

We pay close attention to the principles of universal design in every project we take on. These principles include:

1. Equal Access

In order for a design to be truly universal, it must be useful to people with all kinds of conditions and abilities. This includes people with disabilities or activity limitations.

2. Flexibility

It’s important that the design is flexible enough to apply to all different kinds of people who have a huge variety of different abilities or disability. An example might be providing information in Braille underneath signs so that people who are blind can read them.

3. Simplicity

The design should be easy to understand so that people with varying levels of education and experience can use it.

4. Effective communication

The design must convey the needed information to the user, even if they have limitations in their sensory capabilities or ability to process this information.

5. High tolerance for error

If a user accidentally makes a mistake while using the design, it’s important that they are not harmed or their situation is not made more difficult as a result.

6. Minimal effort required

A person should be able to apply the design easily, even if they have limits to their physical or mental capabilities.

7. Suitable space and size for use

No matter what size a person is or how mobile they are, they should have enough space and the ability to effectively use the design.

It is by considering each of these seven principles that we help our clients ensure that they attain universal design on all types of projects.

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Our Universal Design Consultation Process

Although we do assist clients with a variety of needs, our universal design consulting process remains consistent no matter who we’re working with or what project we are working on:

  1. Identify the scope – understand the product or environment that needs UD.
  2. Define the user base – describe the population that will be using the design in regards to their learning style, physical abilities, age, size, etc.
  3. Involve the consumers – listen to real feedback from the population described in step 2.
  4. Consider the standards – learn about universal design guidelines or standards that apply to the project.
  5. Apply the standards – strategically consider how to apply the UD standards from step 4.
  6. Plan for accommodations – create procedures to address special accommodations for people who may have limited access to the design.
  7. Train staff members – talk to the people who are going to be working with the design and make sure they know how to facilitate good experiences for all users.
  8. Evaluate – through data collected from users, understand how effective the UD has been.

For more information about Universal Design and Universal Access and how we can use the principles and process to help you, get in touch with us today.

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