Universal design is a
concept that strives to create usable environments for individuals of
all abilities while addressing the needs across the lifespan.
While universal design
originated in response to equal access for individuals with functional
limitations and disabilities, it is not the same as bringing structures
into compliance with ADA Standards for Accessible Design. Rather, it
describes the approach applied from the earliest stages of the planning
process to the end of construction, incorporating accessible design into
all features and spaces.
Examples of universal
design elements include:
Wide hallways and
Level transitions between
Lever door handles and
single-handle sink faucets
Rocker slight switches (see
No-step shower access
While many of these design
elements may seem simple, they can enhance the usability of a home, making it
adaptable to an individual's changing needs.