Universal Design plays an important role in technology within the majority of all industries. A good example would be when Universal Design is becoming the focus of the learning industry. Where Universal Design plays an important role here is based on the fact that every student learns at a different level with some having learning capabilities that are quicker and faster, or more intense than others. Being able to implement a Universal Design that will meet the needs of these type of learners as a well as those that struggle create a real challenge.
Learning most often involves the use of technology, therefore the technology has to marry up with the Universal design that is going to be planned and implemented. This can be comprised of not only the information that is being provided to the students which has to be the same across the board, but in the method that it is presented. The way it is structured and the testing mechanism for the comprehension of the materials being taught is encompassed with the Universal design. The technology that is often used to support this type of teaching and learning would be computers, for example.
Included in the technology of the computer would also be built in methods for ease of use and application of the computer itself. Most often to complement this, it would then bringing in the technology that is utilised in software. For example, material that needs to be read can be presented on the computer for all students to access, however for those that had reading problems or weaknesses then screen reading software could be utilized. For students that are in need of building more sensory skills then the computer can be used to present sound effects and video clips. When it comes to visual problems the technology built in the computer as well as the software can be adapted to change the size of the font or the colors.
Staying within the learning industry, Universal Design that implements technology to support it goes beyond the instruction level. The technology that is utilized in the environment for the structural components of the learning establishment equally exciting and is important.
Easy access for students to be able to get from one classroom to another may require the use of technology that will focus on hallways that are wider as well as doorways and automatic door openers. While these are being implemented it to help the students with various disabilities they also provided benefits to those that don’t have to deal with these extra challenges in life.
Universal Design and technology has to work closely hand-in-hand. The technology usually focuses on the functionality of a product for example, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the technology itself is going to make the item attractive. This is a where Universal Design takes on an important role.
The design has to support the function of the product but make it appealing to the end user. Any design itself has to be as such that it does not hinder the technology that it is being utilized with it. The design is not about making a fashion statement or trying to boost the use of the product merely because of its appearance.
As the technology is being planned and built upon those responsible for doing this have to keep a focus on what the design demands are going to be so that both will work together in harmony.
What it comes down to is that technology needs the support of the Universal Design and cannot function without it if the objective of the product is be one that is universally designed. At the same time the design itself will not meet the needs if the technology is not there to support it.