The Substantive Impact of Universal Design


If you stare at the periodic table long enough, you find your element — a scientifically natural state of comfort, ease and exemplarity. Your math lecture, her running track, his art studio, the blue denim chair in which I sit as I write — all elements of a periodic peoplehood, a map of the very spaces in which we belong and in which we thrive.

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.