Design Reality has worked with Paralympian Mark Williams on a range of plastic leg covers for those who have prosthetic limbs that aim to be both “durable” and “attractive”.
Design firm L+W created the “No Country for Old Men” collection in 2012, which consists of Together – a set of walking aids and carts, Aussunta – a chair that tilts forwards to help users rise from a seated position, and MonoLight – a table lamp that illuminates and magnifies. While these products were designed with older adults in mind, their appearance is so friendly and approachable that anyone would love to own them.
Aesthetics is important to Universal Design, because people are often hesitant to buy projects that look institutional or stigmatizing. If Universal Design is going to be brought into the mainstream it will have to be available at the hardware and big box stores where most people shop. At the same time, high-end products, like L+W’s collection, often combine innovation with aesthetics, illustrating just how lovely Universal Design can be.
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.