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Understanding Universal Design

What is Universal Design

Universal design is about designing for everyone. It’s a way of creating environments and products that are usable for all people, regardless of age, ability or situation. Universally-designed homes, systems and tools can be used through many phases of our lives, empowering us to lead a healthy and inclusive life. Everyone stands to benefit: individuals, businesses and society.

Some everyday examples of universal design are as simple as “no step” level entry building entrances, which welcome and enable all users, whether they’re moving equipment, pushing a baby stroller or using a wheelchair.

Universal design features can be seen at your local community centre with level-entry shower stalls and sloping entry into the swimming pool. When you’re assembling furniture, the instructions feature clear pictures and large icons, which help you along. Flat panel light switches and lever handles often seen in modern homes and buildings are also good examples of universal design.

Like within the built environment, universal design is present in the technology that we engage with and the experiences in our everyday lives. Have you ever been to a museum that has an exhibit with audio and tactile components that allow for a full user experience? Closed captioning, descriptive language and clearly-designed layouts make watching television or browsing the internet both convenient and inclusive. The list goes on!

Explore this site to learn about the many ways you can incorporate universal design in your home, business and public spaces. By addressing barriers faced by people with disabilities, as well as addressing the needs of all ages and abilities, universal design helps make our world inviting and accessible to all.

What could be better than being part of creating fully inclusive, engaged communities? Let’s start today.

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