Stress Free Tips for Incorporating Universal Design

What is universal design? Speaking to a broad spectrum, universal design is designing buildings, programs or places that fit for every kind of person to make the most use of it (e.g.children, people with special needs, baby boomers, seniors, the elderly and so on).

With that in mind, implementing universal design for your building can be a stressful situation. How do you know what every group out there needs? How do you know what will best accommodate each and every person that steps inside? Let’s take a look at some easy tips you can use to incorporate universal design into your program or place of business:

Have an understanding of who will be using your product or space

You can’t very well build something for a group if you don’t understand what that group needs, right? What is it that people with certain physical or mental challenged need? What about the elderly? Try to take into account what will work for every group of people that is going to be in attendance. For example, some elderly people might have trouble seeing, so you can incorporate focal points that are closer up and easier to see as well as rooms and events that are easier to navigate.

Try to figure out what works for everyone.

What colors will be easy on the eyes and inviting? What kind of chairs or furniture will best accommodate all of your users and customers?  What about bringing in natural daylight with some non-leaking skylights? Will it be easier to have dimmed lights versus full-on LED lights to keep your space lit? Try and get lots of feedback on what people want from their space from every kind of person you expect to be in attendance. The feedback might not be the easiest to digest but you will no doubt notice that there are a lot of common requests –such as that some people don’t like fluorescent, buzzing lights.

Incorporate an ideal or business focus to help put your brand on it

This doesn’t mean you have to have every single inch coated in your logo, of course. Every good business needs an ideal or something that they stand for, something that they strive to do. Whether that is to provide an education that is accessible to everyone or a safe space where everyone can feel welcome, make certain that your universal design project incorporates that idea.

Universal design is all about just that – making something universally approachable and usable by every kind of person and group who may take part. No group of people will ever one-hundred-percent agree on anything, but you will no doubt reach a new level of commitment and appreciation with them the more you try and make it clear that your design was meant to welcome everyone. Think of universal design not only as an excellent investment but as a labor of love – it will help you, your family and friends both now and in the long run.


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