The Catholic University of America

 

Universal Design

 

 

Universal Design is an approach to college instruction that anticipates diversity of learners and provides a framework for college faculty to incorporate inclusive strategies in their teaching.  Listed below are several Internet resources to provide more information.

At the Center for Universal Design (CUD) at North Carolina State University a group of architects, product designers, engineers, and environmental design researchers established seven principles of UD to provide guidance in the design of products and environments. Following are the CUD principles of UD, each followed with an example of its application:

Equitable use:  The design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities. For example, a website that is designed to be accessible to everyone, including people who are blind, employs this principle.

Flexibility in Use: The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities. An example is a museum that allows visitors to choose to read or listen to the description of the contents of a display case.

Simple and intuitive: Use of the design is easy to understand, regardless of the user's experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level. Science lab equipment with clear and intuitive control buttons is an example of an application of this principle.

Perceptible information: The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user's sensory abilities. An example of this principle is captioned television programming projected in noisy restaurants.

Tolerance for error: The design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions. An example of a product applying this principle is software applications that provide guidance when the user makes an inappropriate selection.

Low physical effort:  The design can be used efficiently, comfortably, and with a minimum of fatigue. Doors that open automatically for people with a wide variety of physical characteristics demonstrate the application of this principle.

Size and space for approach and use:  Appropriate size and space is provided for approach, reach, manipulation, and use regardless of the user's body size, posture, or mobility. A flexible work area designed for use by employees with a variety of physical characteristics demonstrate the application of the principal. 

 

Equity and Excellence in Higher Education Universal Course Design http://www.eeonline.org 

Universal Design Education Online:  http://www.udeducation.org/ 

FacultyWare:  http://www.facultyware.uconn.edu/ 

CAST (Center for Applied Special Technology):  http://www.cast.org/research/udl/index.html 

DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology):  http://www.washington.edu/doit/Resources/udesign.html