Universal Design

Universal Design is a framework first developed by Ronald Mace and his colleagues at North Carolina State University. This concept involves anticipating the physical needs of diverse consumers and designing buildings and other items to be usable by all people to the greatest extent possible. By proactively anticipating diversity in users and designing environments and products to be accessible, there is less need to retrofit accommodations since usability by the public has been broadened by removing barriers.

Making a product or environment accessible to people with disabilities often benefits others. For example, sidewalk curb cuts, designed to make sidewalks and streets accessible to those using wheelchairs, are today often used by people on skateboards, parents with baby strollers, and delivery staff with rolling carts. When television displays in noisy areas of airports and restaurants are captioned, they are more accessible to people who are deaf as well as everyone else.http://www.design.ncsu.edu/cud/about_ud/about_ud.htm

The principles of Universal Design are:
    Equitable Use
    Flexibility in Use
    Simple and Intuitive Use
    Perceptible Information
    Tolerance for Error
    Low Physical Effort
    Size and Space for Approach and Use

Examples of products and environments that reflect the principles of Universal Design are ground level entrances, high contrast signage, and alternate text for images on web pages: