UD is the process of embedding choice for all people in the things human beings design.

About Universal Design


What is Universal Design?

The concept of Universal Design continues to evolve, as the different experiences and needs of individual users in various spaces also continue to be better understood and improved upon.

In general, Universal Design is defined as “the process of embedding choice for all people in the things human beings design”. This means that it is an ongoing, continually improving process that ensures spaces are accessible yet adaptable for everyone, regardless of age, ability, economic status and other circumstances.

How does Level Playing Field use Universal Design?

Here’s the process Level Playing Field uses in applying Universal Design to our clients and projects.


1. Identify the application.

Specify the product or environment to which you wish to apply universal design

2. Define the universe.

Describe the overall population (e.g., users of service), and then describe the diverse characteristics of potential members of the population for which the application is designed (e.g., students, faculty and staff with diverse characteristics with respect to gender; age; size; ethnicity and race; native language; learning style; and abilities to see, hear, manipulate objects, read and communicate)

3. Involve consumers.

Consider and involve people with diverse characteristics (as identified in Step 2) in all phases of the development, implementation and evaluation of the application. Also gain perspectives through diversity programs, such as the campus disability services office. Make these processes known with appropriate signage, publications and websites

4. Adopt guidelines or standards.

Create or select existing universal design guidelines/standards. Integrate them with other best practices within the field of the specific application

5. Apply guidelines or standards.

Apply universal design in concert with best practices within the field (as identified in Step 4) to the overall design of the application, all subcomponents of the application, and all ongoing operations (e.g., procurement processes, staff training), to maximize the benefit of the application to individuals with the wide variety of characteristics identified in Step 2

6. Plan for accommodations.

Develop processes to address accommodation requests (e.g., purchase of assistive technology, arrangement for sign language interpreters) from individuals for whom the design of the application does not automatically provide access

7. Train and support.

Tailor and deliver ongoing training and support to stakeholders (e.g., instructors, computer support staff, procurement officers, volunteers). Share institutional goals with respect to diversity and inclusion and practices for ensuring welcoming, accessible and inclusive experiences for everyone

8. Evaluate.

Include Universal Design measures in periodic evaluations of the application, evaluate the application with a diverse group of users, and make modifications based on feedback. Provide ways to collect input from users (e.g., through online and printed instruments and communications with staff).

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