Welcome to Centre for Universal Design Australia website

The aim of universalising design is to create a more inclusive world. Universal Design, as an endeavour in its own right, is being used internationally as a vehicle for bringing about wholesale change in design thinking throughout the design process so that all people are considered regardless of age, capability, or background.

Universal design is a design concept not a design product. The principles of universal design can be applied to concrete things like products, buildings and open spaces, to intellectual activities such as designing learning programs, and to conceptual things such as policies and practices.


Call for presentations: 3rd Australian Universal Design Conference

Banner for conference showing Brisbane river and bridgeStart thinking about your submission to present at 3rd Australian Universal Design Conference. We just want just 350 words outlining what you want to talk about or showcase. We are looking for good examples of UD that can show others how it can be done. The online call for presentations closes 28 February 2018. The theme is “Home and Away: Creating Inclusion Everywhere”.

In keeping with the theme we are seeking expressions of interest on housing, home and neighbourhood, travel, tourism, destinations and events. As we are living in a digital world, ICT topics are also encouraged, particularly if they relate to the theme. Other topics will be considered within the general theme of universal design and inclusive practice. The conference will be held 4-5 September 2018 at the Brisbane Conference and Exhibition Centre (the new, more accessible, part with entry from Grey Street). We are partnering with COTA Queensland for this event.

Expressions of Interest should show how the topic of your presentation meets the principles and goals of universal design and goes beyond basic access compliance. Topics include and are not limited to:
• Housing development and design
• Neighbourhood design
• Travel and transportation
• Tourism and destinations
• Inclusive events
• Community involvement in design processes
• Accessible digital communications

The closing date for expressions of interest is 28 February 2018.

The conference and presentations should of interest to designers, architects, builders, developers, transportation professionals, tourism professionals, event managers, digital communications professionals, advocacy groups, health professionals, access consultants, and local, state and federal government personnel. Any questions, please email udaustralia@gmail.com


GAATES Access consulting certification

Picture of a check list with Exceptional, Exceeds Requirements, Meets RequirementsThe Global Alliance on Accessible Technologies and Environments (GAATES), an international leader in the field of accessibility, has launched their International Certification of Accessibility Consultants – Built Environment (ICAC-BE) program. The key point from the media release is that almost anyone can present themselves as an access expert. This internationally recognised certification program will help validate those who have such expertise. The following is from their media release, with links to other pages for more information. They have included the concept of universal design in their processes.

“Significant time and contributions from recognized global industry leaders has resulted in the development of the first ever international-level certification program for built environment accessibility experts. The lack of a certification program has allowed people with little or no training or expertise to present themselves as accessibility experts. This has led to uneven and sometimes inadequate costly design solutions.

The identified need for validation of those working in the field was recognized by GAATES who has filled an important gap in the industry. Following internationally established certification protocols (ISO/IEC 17024:2012: Conformity assessment — General requirements for bodies operating certification of persons), a global panel of experts assesses the qualifications and interviews applicants. Evaluators have international experience in public, private and social sectors, and represent a worldwide vision of what constitutes a Universally Designed and accessible built environment. The evaluation is based on both regional practices and international ISO standards.

The program determines whether applications qualify for one of three levels of competency and confirms those professionals who are actively developing universally designed, accessible, and inclusive built environments for everyone, including persons with disabilities and older persons.

International certification will allow those working as accessibility consultants to demonstrate their expertise and it will provide them with a significant business advantage.  Interested applicants are encouraged to contact GAATES to review further details of the program. Please visit our website at www.gaates.org/certification. GAATES’ Program Coordinator may be contacted with specific questions and to begin the application process: certification@gaates.org  


Liveable Housing – your opinion counts

facade of a double fronted two storey home with grand entrance. A McMansionAustralian Network for Universal Housing Design (ANUHD) continues to advocate for all new homes to be accessible. They have a quick survey that will help identify:

  • the difficulties (if any) in finding liveable /universally designed housing
  • the cost and benefit to Australian society in providing universally designed features in all new housing
  • the features that should be in a Livable Standard for all new housing to be accessible/universally designed

As a result of ANUHD’s advocacy, the Australian Building Codes Board will be conducting a Regulatory Impact Assessment to see if access features should be included in the National Construction Code. Part of that process is to assess the need for accessibility. The information from the survey will help inform the discussion paper due out early next year. Please distribute through your networks.


Tried our free course yet?

Title of course: introduction to universal design, yellow and orange blurred coloured background with dark blue text.From the Editor: We are very pleased to see the number of people signing up to our free online course, Introduction to Universal Design. Regardless of your level of understanding, why not give it a go? We’ve tried to make it fun as well as informative. Let us know what you think. After all, the basis of universal design is about the users and what works and what doesn’t. We are planning new courses for next year – your ideas are welcome And if you’ve got part way through the course, get yourself to the end for that certificate! Jane Bringolf.


CUDA AGM and Speaking Program

CUDA will be holding its first Annual General Meeting on Friday 17 November 2017, in Sydney. We will start with a short speaking program featuring CUDA directors in a Pecha Kucha session. The speaking program will commence at 10:30 am with time for questions and an open forum for members and guests. The AGM will follow.

You can download the Agenda and Program with the venue and times, and the Annual Report.

Note: Pecha Kucha 20 x 20 is a style of presentation where the speaker has 20 slides that show for 20 seconds each and are timed automatically. It is a way of getting to the point succinctly. 


In case you missed it…

Title of course: introduction to universal design, yellow and orange blurred coloured background with dark blue text.I’m pleased to report that CUDA’s online course, Introduction to Universal Design, is receiving a lot of attention on social media as well as from last week’s newsletter. This free course is aimed at people who have heard of universal design but not sure what it is or how it can be implemented. Of course, anyone can sign up and go through the steps. There is a certificate of completion at the end. Briefly the topics are the seven principles and eight goals, diversity and stereotyping. It concludes with an overview of how it can be applied in the built environment, to products and to technology. Depending on your prior knowledge it should take one to two hours to complete Introduction to Universal Design. Why not give it a go?

We are happy to receive feedback on the course and suggestions for improvement. Also, we would like to know what topics you would like us to develop for online courses, or there might be a topic you would like to contribute to.

Jane Bringolf, Chair, Centre for Universal Design Australia


Become a member!

Show your support for Centre for Universal Design Australia and the cause of social and economic inclusion by becoming a member.

Your membership contribution will help show the widespread support and interest in Universal Design that exists across Australia and globally. It will also support us to maintain the website and regular newsletters.

Join now and you will be paid up until 30 June 2018. The membership fee is $25. 

You can pay your membership by using your credit card through the PayPal gateway using the button link below. If you don’t have a PayPal Account scroll down to the credit card payment option on the PayPal site.

You can also pay by bank transfer to:

  • Account Name: Centre for Universal Design Australia Ltd
  • Bendigo Bank: BSB 633-000
  • Account Number 157441700

You can find out more about the organisation, its aims, and current Board of Directors by going to the About Us page on the website.

Help us create a more inclusive world!