When we make things like buildings, objects, or experiences, it’s important that everyone can use and enjoy them. There are two ideas we often talk about: “Universal Design” and “Accessible Design.” These ideas try to include everyone, but they do it in different ways. Let’s find out how they are different and why they matter.

Universal Design: Making Things for Everyone from the Start

Universal Design means creating things in a way that everyone can use them easily, no matter their age, ability, or background. This idea started in the 1980s and says that when we design things, we should think about everyone from the beginning. We shouldn’t wait to add special things later for certain people. It’s like making a cake that everyone can eat without changing the recipe.

Main Ideas of Universal Design:

  1.  Things are made so that all kinds of people can use them. Fair for everyone
  2.  Things are easy to understand, even if they’re new to them.
  3.  Things give us the right information even if we can’t see or hear well.
  4.  Things are made so we don’t get hurt if we make a mistake.
  5.  Things should be easy to use and require little physical effort.
  6.  There’s enough room for everyone, no matter their size or how they move.

Universal Design wants to create things that work for as many people as possible right away, so we don’t need to change them later.


People of all physical abilities, ages, size, and life stages

Image by Forrec.com


Accessible Design: Changing Things to suit specific needs

Accessible Design is about making things better for people who might have a hard time using things as they’re normally built. Things like ramps, subtitles or braille would fall in this category.

Accessible Design might add things like:

  • Ramps for people who can’t use stairs.
  • Big signs with raised letters for people who can’t see.
  • Special captions for videos, so people who can’t hear can still understand.

Bringing Universal and Accessible Ideas Together

Universal Design and Accessible Design are like two friends who work together. When we think about everyone from the start (Universal Design), we often end up helping people with disabilities (Accessible Design) too. And when we make things better for people with disabilities (Accessible Design), it often makes things better for everyone (Universal Design).

Conclusion: Making Things for Everyone

In our diverse world, it’s important to think about how everyone can use and enjoy the things around us. Universal Design and Accessible Design are two ways to do that. They help us create spaces, objects, and experiences that include everyone, no matter who they are. By using these ideas, designers and creators can build a world where everyone feels welcome and can do things independently. It’s not just about helping disabilities – it’s about understanding and celebrating how different we all are and making things that work for each of us.

At Safe Haven Design, we believe good design is for everyone. Our team can help transform your home to suit the current or future needs of you and your family and friends. Contact us for a free estimate! 817-264-7426 or click here to tell us about your project