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Adult and Community Learning Services (ACLS)

Universal Design

Universal design is also known as design-for-all, lifespan design, inclusive design, and human centered design. This type of design keeps in mind that people have learning differences; are all ages and sizes; and have different physical abilities. In order to accommodate everyone, universal design adheres to seven principles. Designers keep these principles in mind when they develop products.

  1. Equitable Use: no user labeling
  2. Flexibility in Use: accessible to users of all abilities
  3. Simple Intuitive Use: user-friendly
  4. Perceptible Information: reader friendly or uses universal symbols
  5. Tolerance for Error: user will experience few product problems
  6. Low Physical Effort: user comfort a priority, portable, light
  7. Size and Space for Approach and Use: user's body size or physical ability will not limit use of product

Websites for Learning About Universal Design

Institute for Human Centered Design
Find links to other universal design sites, an FAQ organized by category (telecommunications, k-12, etc.) and a place where users can post questions.

Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST)
Find free multimedia learning tools and professional development opportunities to help educators implement universal design in support of all learners.

Universal Design Education
Find the philosophy behind universal design and ideas about how universal design can be used in the classroom.

Last Updated: October 9, 2013

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Disclaimer: A reference in this website to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public and does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.