Universal design: going beyond ADA requirements


According to U.S. Census Bureau figures, about one in seven Americans is disabled. That number is likely to increase significantly in the next 30 years, as the population of baby boomers continues to grow. With the increasing number of individuals suffering from serious physical limitations, it is becoming more important for facilities to be designed so that they are accessible for all.

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.