What is universal design?
The Center for Universal Design at North Carolina State University defines universal design 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.
Examples of universal design include:
- contrast and magnification controls on any system with visual output – ex. television or computer monitor
- closed captioning on all television networks
- ramps either alone or in addition to stairs at entryways
Universal design would not only improve the way we physically access the world but also how we learn in classroom settings. If you are looking to learn about how you can utilize the principles of universal design you can attend the workshop “Web Accessibility for Online Learning: A How-To Guide for Creating Accessible Content.”
Participants in this workshop will:
- Develop an understanding of Universal Design Principles for Online Learning
- Develop an understanding of potential accessibility/usability issues that need to be considered in course design
- Create more accessible/usable course content
While this course is highly recommended, it is also considered intermediate and those participating should expect to devote 7 to 12 hours per week for assignments.
If you are more interested in a Universal Design 101 course, try picking up these items at your local bookstore:
Universal Principles of Design by William Lidwell and Kritina Holden
Universal Design Ideas for Style, Comfort and Safety gives a great illustrated guide to designing single family homes
Universal Design for Learning by the Council for Exceptional Children gives courses and ways that universal design can be implemented in the classroom