West Virginia Assistive Technology System

WVATS Quarterly Newsletter

Universal Design

"Universal Design" (UD) is defined as "the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design".

Here are some examples of universal design elements for homes and products:

  • A wide door with sensors that trigger it to open when someone approaches
  • A door lever (instead of a knob) that can be opened using light pressure
  • An accessible pathway and no step entry into a single level home
  • A double-cut key that can easily be inserted into a keyhole either way
  • A switch or app that controls your environment, e.g., turning on/off or dimming the lights
  • A keyless dashboard button or remote control that starts a car
  • Large kitchen and laundry appliances with front controls and access doors
  • A touch lamp that can be operated without a switch
  • An automated bank machine that has visual, audible and tactile access options
  • A moving sidewalk in an airport
  • An "undo" option in word processing software that lets you fix mistakes by going back a number of steps
  • Scissors made for people who are righthanded or left handed
  • Height adjustable tables, desks and chairs

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