Principles of universal design in practice

The seven principles in basic form in a listPromoting the classic seven principles of universal design is all very well, but how do they materialise in practice? Designing on the basis of the average person can limit the quality of life for some people. So what are the key design criteria for the built environment? A study was carried out to find out the answer to this question. 

In his summary, Arat says designing to the principles of universal design is the answer.  The detailed needs of individuals can be accommodated more easily if the spatial requirements are considered at the beginning of the design phase. The title of the paper is Spatial Requirements for Elderly and Disabled People in the Frame of Universal Design.

Everyone needs universal design

For an even more practical approach from an individual’s perspective, Lifemark in New Zealand has a practical blog post.

A chrome lever door handle with the door ajar. The door is timberIt’s about how everyone needs universal design so that everyday tasks could be more convenient for everyone.  

“Universal Design can help you during every moment of your life without you even realising it. Here are a few examples: 

  • Your wide garage will make getting the kids, car seats and buggy in and out of the car easy and risk free – no paint scratches on the walls from opened car doors.
  •  You will be able to open any doors even if both of your hands are full, because of your easy to operate lever door handles. 
  • If your hands are dirty, you’ll still be able to use the lever tap without making a mess. 
  • Plugging in the vacuum cleaner won’t strain your back because the power socket is higher up the wall. 
  • You will access your kitchen utensils/crockery because none of the drawers will be too high or too low and you’ll be able to open every drawer with one little push of your hand/knee.

See Lifemark website for the full blog post.