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Monday, September 06, 2004
Bloglines - Edward Steinfeld on the Concept of Universal Design
An excellent introduction to Universal Design -- one that distinguishes it from Accessible Design -- is excerpted below. Written by professor Edward Steinfeld of the IDEA Center, the full text of The Concept of Universal Design can be found at: http://www.ap.buffalo.edu/idea/publications/free_pubs/pubs_cud.htm
The Concept of Universal Design
Universal Design is different than accessible design. Accessible design means products and buildings that are accessible and usable by people with disabilities. Universal design means products and buildings that are accessible and usable by everyone, including people with disabilities. Although these different definitions appear to be simply semantic, they actually have significant differences in meaning. Accessible design has a tendency to lead to separate facilities for people with disabilities, for example, a ramp set off to the side of a stairway at an entrance or a wheelchair accessible toilet stall. Universal design, on the other hand, provides one solution that can accommodate people with disabilities as well as the rest of the population. Moreover, universal design means giving attention to the needs of older people as well as young, women as well as men, left handed persons as well as right handed persons.