THE PRINCIPLES OF UNIVERSAL DESIGN
Version 2.0 - 4/1/97
Compiled by advocates of universal design, listed
in alphabetical order:
The design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.
The authors, a working group of architects, product
designers, engineers and environmental design researchers, collaborated
to establish the following Principles of Universal Design to guide a wide
range of design disciplines including environments, products, and communications.
These seven principles may be applied to evaluate existing designs, guide
the design process and educate both designers and consumers about the
characteristics of more usable products and environments.
The design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities.
1b. Avoid segregating or stigmatizing any users.
1c. Provisions for privacy, security, and safety should be equally available to all users.
1d. Make the design appealing to all users.
PRINCIPLE TWO: Flexibility in Use
The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities.
2a. Provide choice in methods of use.
PRINCIPLE THREE: Simple and Intuitive Use
Use of the design is easy to understand, regardless of the user's experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level.
3a. Eliminate unnecessary complexity.
PRINCIPLE FOUR: Perceptible Information
The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user's sensory abilities.
4b. Provide adequate contrast between essential information and its surroundings.
4c. Maximize "legibility" of essential information.
4d. Differentiate elements in ways that can be described (i.e., make it easy to give instructions or directions).
4e. Provide compatibility with a variety of techniques or devices used by people with sensory limitations.
PRINCIPLE FIVE: Tolerance for Error
The design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions.
5b. Provide warnings of hazards and errors.
5c. Provide fail safe features.
5d. Discourage unconscious action in tasks that require vigilance.
PRINCIPLE SIX: Low Physical Effort
The design can be used efficiently and comfortably and with a minimum of fatigue.
6a. Allow user to maintain a neutral
PRINCIPLE SEVEN: Size and Space for Approach and Use
Appropriate size and space is provided for approach, reach, manipulation, and use regardless of user's body size, posture, or mobility.
7b. Make reach to all components comfortable for any seated or standing user.
7c. Accommodate variations in hand and grip size.
7d. Provide adequate space for the use of assistive devices or personal assistance.
Please note that the Principles of Universal Design address only universally usable design, while the practice of design involves more than consideration for usability. Designers must also incorporate other considerations such as economic, engineering, cultural, gender, and environmental concerns in their design processes. These Principles offer designers guidance to better integrate features that meet the needs of as many users as possible.
Copyright 1997 NC State University, The Center for Universal Design