Universal design guideline
These principles associated with universal design consider the full range of human diversity, including disability, language, culture, gender and age, and should be reflected in the planning and development of wayfinding, signage and multimedia devices.
Universal design also includes identifying barriers that may exist in the built environment, facilities, services and communication, and promotes solutions to allow everyone in the community to fully participate.
Universal design is a process of designing something to be as functional as possible for as many people as possible.
Universal design is also an outcome of a design process where something is as functional as possible for as many people as possible.
The 7 Principles of Universal Design were developed in 1997 by a working group of architects, product designers, engineers and environmental design researchers at the North Carolina State University.
Principle 1: Equitable use
The design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities.
- Provide the same means of use for all users: identical whenever possible; equivalent when not.
- Avoid segregating or stigmatising any users.
- Provisions for privacy, security and safety should be equally available to all users.
- Make the design appealing to all users.
Principle 2: Flexibility in use
The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities.
- Provide choice in methods of use.
- Accommodate right- or left-handed access and use.
- Facilitate the user's accuracy and precision.
- Provide adaptability to the user's pace.
Principle 3: Simple and intuitive use
Use of the design is easy to understand, regardless of the user's experience, knowledge, language skills or current concentration level.
- Eliminate unnecessary complexity.
- Be consistent with user expectations and intuition.
- Accommodate a wide range of literacy and language skills.
- Arrange information consistent with its importance.
- Provide effective prompting and feedback during and after task completion.
Principle 4: Perceptible information
The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user's sensory abilities.
- Use different modes (pictorial, verbal, tactile) for redundant presentation of essential information.
- Provide adequate contrast between essential information and its surroundings.
- Maximise 'legibility' of essential information.
- Differentiate elements in ways that can be described (that is, make it easy to give instructions or directions).
- Provide compatibility with a variety of techniques or devices used by people with sensory limitations.
Principle 5: Tolerance for error
The design minimises hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions.
- Arrange elements to minimise hazards and errors: most used elements, most accessible; hazardous elements eliminated, isolated or shielded.
- Provide warnings of hazards and errors.
- Provide fail safe features.
- Discourage unconscious action in tasks that require vigilance.
Principle 6: Low physical effort
The design can be used efficiently and comfortably and with a minimum of fatigue.
- Allow user to maintain a neutral body position.
- Use reasonable operating forces.
- Minimise repetitive actions.
- Minimise sustained physical effort.
Principle 7: Size and space for approach and use
Appropriate size and space is provided for approach, reach, manipulation and use regardless of user's body size, posture or mobility.
- Provide a clear line of sight to important elements for any seated or standing user.
- Make reach to all components comfortable for any seated or standing user.
- Accommodate variations in hand and grip size.
- Provide adequate space for the use of assistive devices or personal assistance.