Universal design has to have the focus on creating accessibility for everyone world wide no matter what their age, gender or mental or physical condition is. It is sometimes referred to as inclusive design. As businesses are becoming more tuned into the needs of others, Universal design is coming towards the forefront rather than being left on the back burner.
It is beginning to play an important role in business. When implementing this type of design in the business environment, there are many things that have to be considered. It also has to be remembered that Universal design isn’t just applicable to the environment but can be applicable to products as well. The design has to be given some thought as to its aesthetics as a well as to its impact on the environment, where it is going to be applied, as a well as any safety concerns, and then there are cost factors that have to be considered as well.
The business that is going to implement Universal Design has to first identify the need and the application for it. In most cases any business that is open to the public in any way, shape, or form has to do some thinking about the design of their environment so it not only meets the needs of some but all that may be frequenting this location.
Thought has to be given to the characteristics of who the application of the Universal Design is being designed for. This would include their age group, size, language, as well as their ability to see, hear, and communicate.
The best resource to be able to use when planning for Universal Design in business is to rely on those from the public that will retrieve the most benefit from it. For example, if counters within the retail store are being designed to accommodate the handicapped then relying on their feedback through the entire build and planning process will bring about much better results. At the time group of people are becoming the focal point, it has to be remembered that the build also has to include those that are not within this category. It will be a matter of pleasing both lots of people therefore having input from both will be important.
Universal Design can be approached on a small scale or a very large scale. A large scale would be comprised of perhaps an entire building that was being built with the Universal Design principles. For large projects such as these the principles would include…
- Size and space
- Low physical effort
- Low error
One of the great aspects about Universal Design is that it can be used in almost any type of environment. It can be used in structural approaches for any will work site that includes some form of building. This type of design can be used on the product level where it can be used in school curriculum, service offices, and in learning centers, just to name a few. When one thinks about it carefully, Universal design can be applied to a vast amount of business situations that encompass process, principles, and applications.
Most often when the Universal Design is being applied to a product or an environment that is using disability as its main focus it can often provide added benefits for those that do not have to deal with that particular disability.
In the past years, there have great advances within the business industries in this type of design for the disabled. A good example of this is automatic door openers that benefit individuals that are handicapped with their mobility and are using walkers or wheelchairs. At the same time these same automatic doors can be utilized by non-disabled individuals such as when they are carrying their children or an armload of groceries.
One of the public features that has been catering to Universal design is the curb cuts in the sidewalks to allow for wheelchairs bound citizens to have easier access to the sidewalks. However, these cutout curbs are not reserved just for these individuals but are used to by children as well as parents that are walking their babies in baby strollers. Not to mention that the kids find them great for skateboarding. When curb cut outs are strategically planned for in a business sector they allow for easier access to the businesses.