Universal Design: Beyond Access

At Access Central, we agree with the Centre for Excellence in Universal Design in Ireland, in that the term ‘Universal Design’ has continually been used incorrectly as a synonym for compliance with accessibility design standards.

The two areas differ greatly:

  1. Equal rights and disability legislation prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability;
  2. Accessibility design standards provide a minimum level of compliance with applicable legislation.

Whilst universal design is much more than achieving a minimum level of access. Complying with the minimum access provisions is, unfortunately, a box ticking exercise as part of a building approval in many cases.

Universal Design is also much more than considering people with disability.

There are two key factors when considering Universal Design:

  • It is not just applicable to the needs of people with disabilities, but everyone, regardless of their age, size, ability or disability; and
  • Universal Design is not a list of specifications, but an approach to design that considers the varied abilities of users.

Contact Access Central to learn more about how we can help your project provide a better outcome for everyone.