Source: Office of the Vice Chancellor, Administrative Affairs
UW- Whitewater respects diversity as a core value of the institution. As an indicator of this commitment, the university and administration adopts the concepts of "universal design" and social equity as a standard of operation to aspire to for all new construction and remodeling/renovation at UW-Whitewater.
The Office of the Vice Chancellor for Administrative Affairs and the ADA Coordinator will assure that all individuals (Architectural/Engineering design consultants, campus building committees and building project chairs, facilities personnel, etc.) involved with facilities construction projects, 1) understand Universal Design (UD), UD Philosophy, the value UW-Whitewater places on Universal Design, and the UWW UD Guidelines 2) seek to incorporate the principles of Universal Design into the design of environments, and 3) provide opportunity for review, input and recommendations the Universal Design Committee (UDC) and/or a representative of the Committee.
(1)Maintaining the established timeline for design of facilities is critical to achieving a timely and efficient facilities design and construction process. Consequently, the UACC must be prepared and willing to participate in the process in a time and manner that does not cause delays.
What Is Universal Design?
With impetus provided by people with disabilities and their advocates, legal mandates for physical accessibility in all public environments became a reality. In meeting and exceeding these legal mandates, architects have begun to show the way. "Instead of responding only to the minimum demands of laws which require a few special features for disabled people, it is possible to design most manufactured items and building elements to be usable by a broader range of human beings, including children, elderly people, people with disabilities, and people of different sizes." Universal design might be thought of as "accessible" or "inclusive" design. The underlying goal is to design products or services for the fullest range of human function--taking into account the physical, sensory, cognitive, and language needs or abilities of the broadest spectrum of customers during the initial design phase. Good universal design is transparent and aesthetically pleasing. To do that, design concepts must be adopted with an understanding of how all individuals function when using a product, service, or physical environment. Two key questions to keep in mind in incorporating universal design concepts into our planning would be:
THE PRINCIPLES OF UNIVERSAL DESIGN
At the Center for Universal Design at North Carolina State University a group of architects, product designers, engineers and environmental design researchers established the following set of principles of universal design to provide guidance in the design of environments, communications and products.
Principle One: EQUITABLE USE
The design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities.
The Principle of Equitable Use is the most significant component of universal design as it speaks to respect for human dignity. Transparency is the key to universal design and implies a phenomenon that is beyond visual conception. The access should be inherent in an environment and not represent an afterthought about disability or meeting code. It represents access that is intended for human inclusion and not legal mandates.
1a. Provide the same means of use for all users: identical whenever possible; equivalent when not.
1b. Avoid segregating or stigmatizing any users.
1c. Provisions for privacy, security, and safety should be equally available to all users.
1d. Make the design appealing to all users.
·Electronic eye openers in doorways to replace buttons with disability marking
·Fully accessible bathrooms instead of separate accessible bathroom
· Web site that is designed so that it is accessible to everyone, including people who are blind
·Counters with lower and higher tops at differing intervals
·Drinking fountains at two different levels with both being activated through a motion detector
Principle Two: Flexibility in Use
The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities.
2a. Provide choice in methods of use.
2b. Accommodate right- or left-handed access and use.
2c. Facilitate the user's accuracy and precision.
2d. Provide adaptability to the user's pace.
Principle Three: Simple and Intuitive Use
Use of the design is easy to understand, regardless of the user's experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level.
3a. Eliminate unnecessary complexity.
3b. Be consistent with user expectations and intuition.
3c. Accommodate a wide range of literacy and language skills.
3d. Arrange information consistent with its importance.
3e. Provide effective prompting and feedback during and after task completion.
Principle Four: Perceptible Information
The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user's sensory abilities.
4a. Use different modes (pictorial, verbal, tactile) for redundant presentation of essential information.
4b. Provide adequate contrast between essential information and its surroundings.
4c. Maximize "legibility" of essential information.
4d. Differentiate elements in ways that can be described (i.e., make it easy to give instructions or directions).
4e. Provide compatibility with a variety of techniques or devices used by people with sensory limitations.
Principle Five: Tolerance for Error
The design minimizes hazards and adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions.
5a. Arrange elements to minimize hazards and errors: most used elements, most accessible; hazardous elements eliminated, isolated, or shielded.
5b. Provide warnings of hazards and errors.
5c. Provide fail safe features.
5d. Discourage unconscious action in tasks that require vigilance.
Principle Six: Low Physical Effort
The design can be used efficiently and comfortably and with a minimum of fatigue.
6a. Allow user to maintain a neutral body position.
6b. Use reasonable operating forces.
6c. Minimize repetitive actions.
6d. Minimize sustained physical effort.
Principle Seven: Size and Space for Approach and Use
Appropriate size and space is provided for approach, reach, manipulation, and use regardless of user's body size, posture, or mobility.
7a. Provide a clear line of sight to important elements for any seated or standing user.
7b. Make reach to all components comfortable for any seated or standing user.
7c. Accommodate variations in hand and grip size.
7d. Provide adequate space for the use of assistive devices or personal assistance.
Designers must also incorporate other considerations such as economic, engineering, cultural, gender, and environmental concerns in their design processes. These principles are intended to offer designers guidance to better integrate features that meet the needs of as many users as possible.
(This information was adapted from The Center for Universal Design, North Carolina State University, the DO-IT Program for Universal Design at Washington State University)
As amended 28 April 2009
Last Reviewed: October 2015