Wheelchair Accessible Office Building with a Wheelchair Ramp
16 Sep

The Top 4 Benefits of Universal Design


Universal Design proposes an evolving and progressive approach to developing inclusive built environments, whether an office or public space, which are highly usable and accessible to all individuals. Accessibility is essential when it comes to developing an inclusive environment. Creating accessibility in learning environments and physical spaces requires extra planning and thought at the initial stages. Universal Design, when implemented, could standardize built spaces for all abilities.

What Are the Top Benefits of Universal Design?

Besides making remarkable business sense, Universal Design (UD) offers multiple compelling reasons for implementation. The top benefits for UD include benefits to the individual, society, business, and legal compliance standards.

1. Benefits to the Individual

The key benefit to individuals in a UD environment is independence. Still, since every individual has different abilities, they may receive varying levels of accessibility and usability. The degree of difficulty that individuals face while using a service, environment, or product varies. Universal Design seeks to maximize accessibility for everyone and help people with diverse abilities so that all benefit. For example, some individuals may thrive from having a desk with space for a wheelchair, while others may require a desk that can be a standing or sitting desk. Meanwhile, others may require software to read for them. The inclusive design solutions of UD enable individuals with all levels of ability to independently. Universal design principles offer a competitive edge when it comes to tackling this global phenomenon of inaccessibility.

2. Compliance with Legislation and Standards

Regarding the design of a service, product, or environment, UD is an approach that promotes compliance and has much broader potential for enhancing usability and accessibility. UD seeks to provide the most instead of asking, “What’s the least we can do?” The law requires that businesses are wheelchair accessible with wide entrances, wide hallways, and wheelchair-accessible stalls, but what about the height of the shelves? What about the individuals who suffer debilitating migraines due to harsh overhead lighting? What about individuals who are unable to hear? When it comes to disability compliance, the law provides a bare minimum for companies and public spaces to meet. However, Universal Design goes above and beyond, offering standards that truly prioritize people with disabilities and impairments.

3. Benefits to Society

To facilitate the independence of individuals of different demographics with varying abilities, the universal design principles promote the concept of keeping the user at the center of the designing and engineering process. For example, this means wheelchair users would always have access to a usable sidewalk rather than needing to use the road and obstruct vehicle traffic flow. An environment engineered via UD helps promote equality and makes life safer and more accessible for all individuals.

4. Business Benefits of UD for a Changing Market

While businesses may initially see UD as a financial setback, research shows that the potential reached from implementing UD in the workplace and retail space increases business from market to possible profit.

  • Enhanced customer retention and satisfaction – A satisfied customer tells other individuals about the service, environment, or product, creating new expectations and increasing awareness.
  • Increased market reach – One implication of the design from UD is an increase in market reach. A service, environment, or product becomes available to a high number of the audience and a broader range of potential customers.
  • Positive public image – A business that contributes to society positively by integrating a UD approach will receive a reputation for having a high degree of corporate social responsibility.

UD benefits a diverse mix of individuals. It caters to differing preferences, abilities, and learning styles. Also, it provides an adaptive environment that does not restrict functionality. Developing a space that everyone can access will help maximize the opportunity to help individuals who may require varying facilities or services. At StrongGo, we believe in developing a more accessible environment, and we do this by engineering and designing detectable warning dome tiles. Contact us today to learn more by emailing csd@stronggo.com.

Sources:
https://universaldesign.ie/what-is-universal-design/the-7-principles/
https://universaldesign.ie/what-is-universal-design/benefits-and-drivers/#:~:text=Universal%20Design%20creates%20inclusive%20design,products%2C%20services%20and%20environments%20are.
https://universaldesign.ie/what-is-universal-design/definition-and-overview/
https://universaldesign.ie/what-is-universal-design/history-of-ud/
https://blog.ai-media.tv/blog/what-is-universal-design