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The Challenges in Universal Design

  • Tom, Vavik,|Rama, Gheerawo, | ,

The article introduces the challenges of universal design in the fields of architecture, product design and service design. The benefits and milestones of universal design are described and a summary of the content of the book is given.

Benefits of a Universal Design approach go beyond moral principles or a doctrine of social betterment. It is also about bettering design, improving business and attracting underserved consumer groups. Understanding users can bring inventiveness to the design process and open up new markets for business by future-proofing products for new consumer groups. Industry needs to make an early response to the growing number of older and disabled consumers and one of the most robust and ‘upstream’ ways of doing this is by re-evaluating the design offer they currently present. Universal Design techniques and methods can engender ways of visualizing new design directions and testing them with potential markets to ensure suitability and take-up.

Universal Design will become increasingly important in the future. It is one of the strongest trends in design and it is happening now. It is directly engaged with the concept of social sustainability and inclusion, ideas that have growing importance in the political arena and in the corporate world. Most importantly it can also act as a catalyst for designers to innovate and as a framework for inspired creation.

Tom, V.Rama, G., & . 2009. 'The Challenges in Universal Design'. Inclusive Building, Products and Services. Challenges in Universal Design.4–24.