• We have in depth knowledge of Universal Design principles to assist the design process to achieve maximal human performance, wellness, and social participation for all people regardless of size, shape, or ability. Whether you want to optimize your customer satisfaction, optimize employee performance, or optimize employee accessibility, application of Universal Design Principles is the benchmark for achieving human centred and inclusive design.
  • Design of the environment can have a profound effect on the person’s ability to function within that space. An example would be an elderly person with mobility and memory issues becoming frustrated navigating a hospital due to inadequate way finding signs and directions. Or somebody hearing impaired not fully engaged in an arts performance due to lack of hearing loops or other assistive technology integrated into the theatre design. 
  • Universal Design is a concept born out of the United States and a realization that prescriptive building codes at state and national level, such as the AODA, was confusing and less than effective. A collaboration of disciplines including architects, industrial designers, and environmental psychologists, and 5 iterations later, resulted in the Principle of Universal Design Version 2.0. These principles were not prescriptive but rather meant to guide designers during the design process.

7 Principles of Universal Design and Access-Knowledge Domains 

 

      • Principle 1: Equitable Use. This principle is the “anchor” of the other 6 principles and states “The design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities”. This is really the “human rights” principle. 
      • Principle 2: Flexibility in Use. “The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities.” This principle derived from the rehabilitation world and social model of disability and promotes choice of user input (left hand vs right, speed of movement, functional abilities, etc).
      • Principle 3: Simple and Intuitive to Use. “Use of the design is easy to understand, regardless of the user’s experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level.” This principle refers to a person’s cognitive capacity and suggesting a design should accommodate the spectrum of human cognitive capacities and knowledge base. Principles 3 to 6 capture elements from Human Factors and Ergonomics. 
      • Principle 4: Perceptible Information. “The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user’s sensory abilities.” This principle refers to the various sensory capacities of the human  population such as sight and hearing. Ensuring the design can be perceptible to all will ensure participation of all. Principles 3 to 6 capture elements from Human Factors and Ergonomics.
      • Principle 5: Tolerance for Error. “The design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions.” Principles 3 to 6 capture elements from Human Factors and Ergonomics though this principle was also influenced by the telecommunications and computer science industry.
      • Principle 6: Low Physical Effort. “The design can be used efficiently and comfortably and with a minimum of fatigue.” This principle is heavily influenced by the ergonomics field and includes factors such as neutral posture, low force, duration of engagement, and degree of repetition. 
      • Principle 7: Size and Space of Use and Approach. “Appropriate size and space is provided for approach, reach, manipulation, and use regardless of user’s body size, posture, or mobility.” This principle discusses the importance of anthropometrics and consideration of negative space on the human body static and dynamic.