Universal Design: Is it Accessible?

Universal Design: Is it Accessible?” is an interesting and controversial paper published in by Jane Bringolf in The RIT Journal of Plurality and Diversity in Design.

In the paper Bringolf argues that universal design sometimes fails to meet its own principal. For example, despite being far from universal, concepts such as accessibility and disability are often used to describe universal design. Bringolf further argues that this is partly why universal design is understood as a disability product rather than something made for all users.

The author claims that in a legislation with focus on people with disabilities, the benefits for all are lost. Instead the focus for designers and developers is to meet the regulations. This requires designers and developers to think in specially designed for disabled people when developing new products, which is exactly what universal design is trying to prevent.

The author controversially claims that neither legislation nor further research is the solution to a more universal designed world. To avoid people with disabilities becoming just another legal problem for designers, the author wants to re-brand universal design.

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