Universal Design

The Center for Universal Design defines universal design as “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.

The intent of the universal design concept is to simplify life for everyone by making products, communications, and the built environment more usable by more people at little or no extra cost. The universal design concept targets all people of all ages, sizes, and abilities.” Here are some excellent sites that focus on this concept.

Center for Universal Design
The Center for Universal Design is a national research, information, and technical assistance center that evaluates, develops, and promotes accessible and universal design in buildings and related products. Its web site includes a wealth of information about universal design, including the full text of many of the Center’s publications and its quarterly newsletter.
Center for Inclusive Design & Environmental Access (IDEA)
IDEA is dedicated to improving the design of environments and products by making them more usable, safer and appealing to people with a wide range of abilities, throughout their life spans. The organization provides resources and technical expertise in architecture, product design, facilities management and the social and behavioral sciences. Its web site includes information about the Center’s programs and services.
Design for Ageing Network of Europe (DAN)
DAN is an initiative launched by a group of organizations and individuals from across Europe to develop the necessary expertise, know-how and understanding to enable design and industry to respond to the growing population of “over-50’s.” Its web site includes an extensive bibliographic database of on aging and design, award-winning student design projects, a collection of case studies, and much more.
Universal Design Education Project
This Adaptive Environments project was developed to help prepare design students for the design needs of a diverse society, this project encourages the involvement of user/experts, especially people with disabilities and older people, to help future designers learn how to design for people unlike oneself. Information about universal design, events, a listserv and related resources are provided.
Universal Design Special Interest Section
Information about this special interest section of the Industrial Designers Society of America.

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