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Universal Design and Design for All

Universal Design is a process of incorporating specialized products and adapting a space to create an accessible environment suitable for those with and without disabilities.

The Europeans refer to Universal Design as “Design for All”. It is an intervention on environment, products, and services with the aim that everyone regardless of age, gender, capabilities, or cultural background, can enjoy participating in the construction of our society. It allows us all to access, use, and intuitively be part of any environment with as much independence as possible.

The term "universal design" was coined by the architect Ronald L. Mace to describe the concept of designing all products and the built environment to be aesthetic and usable to the greatest extent possible by everyone, regardless of their age, ability, or status in life. Ronald later teamed up with industry professionals and established the seven principles of Universal Design.

The Seven Principles of Universal Design

  1. Equitable Use: The design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities.
  2. Flexibility in Use: The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities
  3. 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.
  4. Perceptible Information: The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user’s sensory abilities.
  5. Tolerance for Error: The design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions.
  6. Low Physical Effort: The design can be used efficiently and comfortably with minimum fatigue.
  7. 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.

Trending Accessibility Universal Design Solutions

Our goal at Trending Accessibility is to provide solutions for universal design in the bathroom. We offer a wide array of products that range from shower seats, grab bars, and European wet room systems. All of these products are innovative in design, and will help to shift the construction industry to begin making barrier free bathrooms the standard in residential and commercial applications.

A few universal design examples

  • Accessible lavatories, sinks, and counters
  • Accessible bathtubs and showers
  • Variable height counters and accessible work surfaces
  • Easily traversed floors
  • Remote control features
  • Smooth surfaces of entryways, without steps
  • Wide doors and hallways
  • Lever handles for opening doors rather than twisting knobs
  • Faucets with single handles instead of knobs
  • Light switches with large flat panels rather than small toggle switches
  • Bright and appropriate lighting, particularly task lighting
  • Buttons on control panels that can be distinguished by touch
  • Countertops with space for wheelchairs or walkers
  • Handrails on both sides of staircases
  • Contrasting color between step and stair riser
  • Reinforced walls for future handrail installations
  • Appliances – with drawers instead of doors, grab handles
  • Ramp access or build for future ramp additions