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Universal design

Universal design is the design of buildings, products or environments to make them accessible to all people, regardless of age, disability or other factors. Universal design is the design of buildings, products or environments to make them accessible to all people, regardless of age, disability or other factors. The term 'universal design' was coined by the architect Ronald Mace to describe the concept of designing all products and the built environment to be aesthetic and usable to the greatest extent possible by everyone, regardless of their age, ability, or status in life. However, it was the work of Selwyn Goldsmith, author of Designing for the Disabled (1963), who really pioneered the concept of free access for people with disabilities. His most significant achievement was the creation of the dropped curb – now a standard feature of the built environment. Universal design emerged from slightly earlier barrier-free concepts, the broader accessibility movement, and adaptive and assistive technology and also seeks to blend aesthetics into these core considerations. As life expectancy rises and modern medicine increases the survival rate of those with significant injuries, illnesses, and birth defects, there is a growing interest in universal design. There are many industries in which universal design is having strong market penetration but there are many others in which it has not yet been adopted to any great extent. Universal design is also being applied to the design of technology, instruction, services, and other products and environments. Curb cuts or sidewalk ramps, essential for people in wheelchairs but also used by all, are a common example. Color-contrast dishware with steep sides that assists those with visual or dexterity problems are another. There are also cabinets with pull-out shelves, kitchen counters at several heights to accommodate different tasks and postures, and, amidst many of the world's public transit systems, low-floor buses that 'kneel' (bring their front end to ground level to eliminate gap) and/or are equipped with ramps rather than on-board lifts. The Center for Universal Design at North Carolina State University expounds the following principles: Each principle above is succinctly defined and contains a few brief guidelines that can be applied to design processes in any realm: physical or digital. These principles are broader than those of accessible design and barrier-free design. In 2012, The Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access at The University at Buffalo expanded definition of the principles of universal design to include social participation and health and wellness. Rooted in evidence based design, the 8 goals of universal design were also developed. The first four goals are oriented to human performance: anthropometry, biomechanics, perception, cognition. Wellness bridges human performance and social participation. The last three goals addresses social participation outcomes. The definition and the goals are expanded upon in the textbook 'Universal Design: Creating Inclusive Environments.'

[ "Mechanical engineering", "World Wide Web", "Universal design for instruction", "Design for All" ]
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