Universal Design Universal Design is the design and composition of an environment so that it can be accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent possible by all people regardless of their age, size, ability or disability. (Synopsis from the Irish Disability Act 2005)
United Nations convention on the rights of People with Disabilities 2006 (UNCPD) General Obligation No 4: Governments are: “to undertake or promote research and development of universally designed goods, services, equipment and facilities…”
UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities • Universal Design • design of products, environments, programmes and services to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design. “Universal design” shall not exclude assistive devices for particular groups of persons with disabilities where this is needed • NOTE This is the definition contained in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
Universal design refers to broad-spectrum ideas meant to produce buildings, products and environments that are inherently accessible to both people without disabilities and people with disabilities
Is it the same as Accessible Design? • accessible design • design focused on principles of extending standard design to people with some type of performance limitation to maximize the number of potential customers who can readily use a product, building or service which may be achieved by: • ⎯ designing products, services and environments that are readily usable by most users without any modifications, • ⎯ by making products or services adaptable to different users (adapting user interfaces), and • ⎯ by having standardized interfaces to be compatible with special products for persons and disabilities
NOTE 1 Terms such as design for all, barrier free design, inclusive design and transgenerational design are used similarly but in different contexts. • NOTE 2 Accessible design is a subset of Universal Design where products and environments are usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design. • [CEN/CENELEC Guide 6]
The term • The term "universal design" was coined by the architect Ronald L. Mace to describe the concept of designing all products and the built environment to be aesthetic and usable to the greatest extent possible by everyone, regardless of their age, ability, or status in life.
Ron Mace …. the use of the term universal is unfortunate in that “nothing can be truly universal; there will always be people who cannot use an item no matter how thoughtfully it is designed.
However, it was the work of Selwyn Goldsmith, author of Designing for the Disabled (1963), who really pioneered the concept of free access for disabled people. • His most significant achievement was the creation of the dropped curb - now a standard feature of the built environment.
"UD.tc96" (Universal Design, Trace Center 1996). • This definition is a composite of many people's ideas, and is our best attempt at cap turing the essence, flexibility, and applicability of universal design. • Universal design is the process of creating products (devices, environments, systems, and processes) which are usable by people with the widest possible range of abilities, operating within the widest possible range of situations (environments, conditions, and circumstances).
Universal design has two major components: Designing products so that they are flexible enough that they can be directly used (without requir ing any assistive technologies or modifications) by people with the widest range of abilities and circumstances as is commercially practical given current materials, technologies, and knowledge; and • Designing products so that they are compatible wi th the assistive technologies that might be used by those who cannot efficiently access and use the products directly.
There are NO universal designs; there are NO universally designed products. • Universal design is a process which yields products (devices, environments, systems, and processes) which are usable by and useful to the widest possible range of people. • It is not possible, however, to create a product which is usable by everyone or under all circumstances. There are, for instance, people who simultaneously are deaf-blind, have cerebral palsy, and have severe cognitive impairments. • We do not currently know how we would design a personal transportation system which could be independently used by an individual with such a combination of impairments. This is rather an extreme case, but it goes to make the point.
Universal design, therefore: takes into account the needs of all users (including both ends and the middle of any ability dimension); adds flexibility to designs;
and results in product designs which: allow a greater variety of people t o successfully access and use the product directly (or with any assistive device); allow the product to be used in a greater variety of environments or situations; are flexible enough to address the needs of both novices and power users; are easier for users in general to understand and use. Gregg C. VanderheidenTrace R&D CenterUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison
Centre for Excellence in Universal Design • Terms of Reference • The centre shall facilitate the achievement of excellence in universal design by the development and promulgation of standards in that regard. • Universal design of electronic systems • – Develop standards of excellence • – Recommend those standards for adoption by bodies operating in the field of information technology and telecommunications • – Encourage compliance by those bodies with international best practice in universal design • – Undertake multidisciplinary research and development studies • – Provide a practical and theoretical basis for Assistive technologies
Terms of Reference Continued • Introduce the principles of universal design to courses of training at all levels…affecting the environment • – Professional exams include material relating to the principles • – Courses of training available –architects, engineers, town planners, system analysts, software designers, transport providers and designers of passenger transport vehicles and vessels • – Training trainers • – Raising general awareness of the difficulties encountered by persons with disabilities in relation to the environment • – Providing the knowledge, skills and values to instil new attitudes and behaviour towards achieving an environment that is universally designed-persons engaged in work affecting the environment
The Centre’s vision • The Centre is dedicated to the principle of universal access, enabling people in Ireland to participate in a society that takes account of human difference and to interact with their environment to the best of their ability.
The main activity areas of the Centre: • Standards To contribute to the development and promotion of standards in Universal Design, the Centre will: • Stimulate research by commissioning, collaborating in and conducting studies; • Participate in and contribute to relevant standardisation work, with national, European and international standards bodies; • Provide expert advice and information to relevant stakeholders involved in implementing and promoting standards; • Encourage compliance with national and international standards in Universal Design.
Education and Professional Development The Centre will have responsibility to: • Ensure the development of appropriate Universal Design courses, in liaison with relevant academic, certifying and professional bodies; • Support and promote the introduction and integration of the principles of Universal Design in educational and training courses; • Ensure, as far as practicable, the principles and application of Universal Design are included in examinations recognised by professional bodies.
Awareness • To raise awareness of Universal Design, the Centre will: • Develop and maintain a knowledge base of good practice in Universal Design; • Promote public awareness of the difficulties encountered by people in relation to the environment; • Promote an understanding of Universal Design.
The Centre’s values • The Centre shares the NDA’s core values: • Independence A commitment to maintain independence and retain public confidence will be central to the way in which the Centre manages its work and its relationships with others; • Working Together Respect the experience, expertise and roles of other stakeholders; • Human Rights The Centre respects the dignity and autonomy of all individuals as equal citizens; • Equality Promote opportunities for equal participation and seek to secure equality of outcomes for all; • Striving for Excellence The Centre aims for standards of excellence in the conduct and achievement of its own work and its engagement with others.
Center for Universal Design North Carolina State University(NCSU) • THE CENTER FOR UNIVERSAL DESIGN is a national research, information, and technical assistance center that evaluates, develops, and promotes accessible and universal design in housing, buildings, outdoor and urban environments and related products. • The Center's work manifests the belief that all new environments and products, to the greatest extent possible, should be usable by everyone regardless of their age, ability, or circumstance. • Part of the College of Design at North Carolina State University (NCSU), Raleigh, NC, the Center promotes the concept of universal design in all design, construction, and manufacturing disciplines through research, design assistance, and training.
NCSU Universal Design Center Activities • The Center conducts original research to learn what design solutions are appropriate for the widest diversity of users and what tools are most useful to practitioners wishing to successfully practice universal design. • The Center collaborates with builders and manufacturers on the development of new design solutions. • It also develops publications and instructional materials, and provides information, referrals and technical assistance to individuals with disabilities, families, and professionals nationwide and internationally.