Universal Design has been around since the late 1990’s. Thanks to the prolific nationally renowned Architect, Ronald L. Mace and several other forward thinking architects, engineers, and designers, we have what is known as the Several Principles of Universal Design.
This is a topic that is very interesting and has a lot of discussions in the design community. If you are remodeling your home or are responsible for the remodel of a home, you may want to take a look at how to incorporate these principles into your design.
One of the leading resources in this area is the Ronald L. Mace Universal Design Institute, based in North Carolina. The Ronald L. Mace Universal Design Institute is dedicated to promoting the concept and practice of accessible and universal design.
One of the fundamental guiding principles of the Ronald L. Mace Universal Design Institute is that all new environments and products, should and can be usable by everyone regardless of age, ability, or circumstance.
1. Equitable use: The design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities.
- Provide the same means of use for all users.
- Provisions for privacy, security, and safety should be equally available to all users.
- Make the design appealing to all users.
2. Flexibility in use: The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities.
- Provide choice in methods of use.
- Facilitate the user’s accuracy and precision.
- Provide adaptability to the user’s pace.
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.
- Eliminate unnecessary complexity.
- Be consistent with user expectations.
- Accommodate a wide range of literacy and language skills.
4. Perceptible Information: The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of
ambient conditions or the user’s sensory abilities.
- Use different modes (pictorial, oral, tactile) for redundant presentation of essential information.
- Provide adequate contrast between essential information and its surroundings.
- Differentiate elements in ways that can be described.
5. Tolerance for error: The design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions.
- Arrange elements to minimize hazards and errors: most-used elements, most accessible; hazardous elements eliminated or shielded.
- Provide warnings of hazards/errors.
- Provide fail-safe features.
6. Low physical effort: The design can be used efficiently and comfortably and with a minimum of fatigue.
- Allow user to maintain a neutral body position.
- Use reasonable operating forces.
- Minimize sustained physical effort.
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.
- Provide a clear line of sight to important elements for any seated or standing user.
- Make reach to all components comfortable for any seated or standing user.
- Provide adequate space for the use of assistive devices or personal assistance.
Click on the following Links to read more on the Seven Principles of Universal Design:
7 Tenets of Universal Design From the R.L. Mace Universal Design Institute - Remodeling – HW.Net