Design for All, Universal Design

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Design for All is the intervention into environments, products, and services which aims to ensure that anyone, including future generations, regardless of age, gender, capacities or cultural background, can participate in social, economic, cultural, and leisure activities with equal opportunities.

Design for All, also known as Universal Design, should be implemented in all areas because the human beings are diverse and everyone has the wish, the need, and the right of being independent and choosing the own lifestyle without facing physical and social barriers.

There are several pieces to this Design for All puzzle and each piece is just as important as the last. If one piece is missing, nothing really works. Here’s a short runthrough of the criteria for Design for All:

● Respectful: it should respect the diversity of its users. Make it so that no one feels marginalised and everyone should be able to access it.

● Safe: it should be free of risks to all users. This means that all elements forming part of an environment have to be designed with safety in mind.

● Healthy: it should not constitute a health risk or cause problems to those who suffer from certain illnesses or allergies. Also, it should promote healthy use of spaces and products.

● Functional: it should be designed in such a way that it can only carry out the function for which it was intended without any problems or difficulties.

● Comprehensible: all users should be able to orient themselves without difficulty within a given space, and therefore the following are essential to success:

○ Clear information: use of icons that are common to different countries, avoiding the use of words or abbreviations from the local language which may lead to confusion.

○ Spatial distribution: this should be coherent and functional, avoiding disorientation and confusion.

● Sustainable: misuse of natural resources should be avoided to guarantee that future generations will have the same opportunities as us to preserve the planet.

● Affordable: anyone should have the opportunity to enjoy what is provided.

● Appealing: the result should be emotional and socially acceptable but always bearing in mind the seven precedent criteria.

Ensuring a usable space for all individuals can be a challenging task, but entirely possible. Following these guidelines and methods can help make for a long lasting and widely functional space, product, or service.