Universal Design

Universal Design (UD) is an approach to home building, remodeling, and community development that centers on safety and ease of movement, both inside and outside of the home.

Smart HomesLivable homes come wired for the latest communications and security technologies.

Easy Living Standards—The features of UD range from lever door handles and easy-to-grasp cabinet pulls, to no-threshold showers, zero-step entrances, and first floor living. For the community, universally designed community features range from curb-cuts on public streets and pedestrian countdown clocks, to easily accessible buildings, transit, and housing located near shops for goods and services.

The definitions of UD are wordy and institutional, but the following definition is the most direct:

UD considers human needs and abilities throughout the buyers lifespan. (HUD Residential Design and Universal Design, June 1996)

UD Simply put, is making life easier and safer in the design of home settings. It fits all customers.


Here are the 7 principles of Universal Design: (The Center for Universal Design – NC State University)

  • Equitable – design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities.  Make the design appealing to all users.
  • Flexibility in Use – the design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities
  • Simple and Intuitive –  Use of the design is easy to understand, regardless of the user's experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level
  • Perceptible Information - The design communicates necessary information effectively to the users (i.e. pictorial, verbal, tactile)
  • Tolerance for Error – The design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintentional actions.
  • Low Physical Effort – The design can be used efficiently and comfortably and with minimum fatigue.
  • Size and Space for Approach and Use – appropriate size and space is provided fro approach, reach, manipulation, and use regardless of user's body size, posture, or ability.