Why Universal Design is Vital

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For their biannual conference to be held later this year, the Association of Consultants in Access Australia (ACAA) have made the theme of the conference ‘Universal Design – a better way.’ The keynote speaker for the conference is professor Edward Steinfeld, director of the US-based Centre for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access (IDEA). Steinfeld is seen as a leader in the area and his work has made a considerable contribution to the evolution of universal design (UD) in recent years.

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.