Universal Design (UD) Principles

The 7 Principles of Universal Design were developed in 1997 by a working group of architects, product designers, engineers and environmental design researchers, led by the late Ronald Mace in the North Carolina State University. The purpose of the Principles is to guide the design of environments, products and communications. According to the Center for Universal Design in NCSU, the 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.” This approach makes learning not only equitable and accessible, but also creates an inclusive and community-building environment for all diverse learners in our classrooms. It assumes that the range of human ability is ordinary, not special—diversity is the norm! This framework helps us appreciate the varied abilities of every student. Rather than focusing on accommodation, the UD design process allows use to apply design principles in such a way that the resulting learning applies to everyone regardless of ability or disability.

(Connell, et al., 1997)

  1. Equitable use
  2. Flexibility in use
  3. Simple and intuitive use
  4. Perceptible information
  5. Tolerance for error
  6. Low physical effort
  7. Size and space for approach and use

What is Universal Design? Centre for Excellence in Universal Design

Center for Universal Design (CUD): Environments and Products for All People, NC State University

Burgstahler, Sheryl (2012.). Universal Design in Education: Principles and Applications. DO IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology) publication, University of Washington

The Centre for Universal Design in Education