8 Goals of Universal Design

Slide from the video 8 Goals of Universal Design. The 7 Principles of Universal Design are well known in the universal design world. They’ve been used as a guide for many years by design professionals and academics. The IDEA Center at the University at Buffalo took these principles and made them more practical. The 8 Goals of Universal Design are the result. They help practitioners apply universal design and measure outcomes. They cover functional, social and emotional dimensions. Briefly, the 8 Goals are:

        1. Body Fit
        2. Comfort
        3. Awareness
        4. Understanding
        5. Wellness
        6. Social integration
        7. Personalization
        8. Cultural appropriateness

The IDEA Center was concerned that the principles were based on Western norms. So they added cultural appropriateness to the list. The 8 Goals can be grouped into three categories: 

Human performance

    • Body fit
    • Comfort
    • Awareness
    • Understanding


is the bridge between them as it addresses both

Social participation

    • Social integration
    • Personalisation
    • Cultural appropriateness

Sarah Davidson gives an introduction to the 8 Goals of Universal Design in the 3 minute video below. 

Adapt the words to suit

The wording of these goals can be adapted to suit different design contexts. For example, the Everyone Can Play guide adapted the goals to suit the play context:

    • Find: Communicated the purpose and location of play elements and facilities
    • Fit: Provide a range of play opportunities for people of all abilities and sizes.
    • Choose: Enable exciting individual experiences and social interaction.
    • Join In: Create opportunities for everyone to connect.
    • Thrive: Challenge and involve people of all capabilities.
    • Belong; Create a place that’s welcoming and comfortable.

The 8 Goals offer a framework for practical application, research, and for communicating universal design. They complement the 7 Principles of Universal Design, which still stand as general principles. 

The IDeA Center website has more information and some pictures to help explain. Ed Steinfeld and Jordana Maisel devised the Goals in 2012.