Include or lose: Design for the whole market


Ever had trouble shaking ketchup out of a glass bottle? Now imagine struggling to unscrew the lid of a marmalade jar every breakfast time because you don’t have the strength to grip it firmly enough. Or maybe you’ve had to wait for an airport screen display to refresh before spotting your flight? Now picture standing there for several repetitions and still not knowing the latest departure information because you can never read the screen quickly enough. This is the reality for many disabled and elderly people, for whom physical or cognitive impairment makes carrying out everyday tasks or accessing services difficult or impossible.

Universal Design (UD) is an approach to design that increases the potential for developing a better quality of life for a wide range of individuals. It is a design process that enables and empowers a diverse population by improving human performance, health and wellness, and social participation (Steinfeld and Maisel, 2012). It creates products, systems, and environments to be as usable as possible by as many people as possible regardless of age, ability or situation.