Definition of Universal Design - Aging in Place Glossary

Universal Design

Glossary » Universal Design

Definition: Universal Design

This term refers simply to the design of something, whether it be a building, home or product, that can be used by anyone, regardless of physical abilities. In the case of aging in place, the principles of Universal Design are used to create an accessible home environment, geared towards the safety and comfort of seniors.



Copyright 1997 NC State University, The Center for Universal Design

PRINCIPLE ONE: Equitable Use The design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities.

PRINCIPLE TWO: Flexibility in Use The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities.

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.

PRINCIPLE FOUR: Perceptible Information The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user’s sensory abilities.

PRINCIPLE FIVE: Tolerance for Error The design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions.

PRINCIPLE SIX: Low Physical Effort The design can be used efficiently and comfortably and with a minimum of fatigue.

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.


Aging in Place Newsletter

Delivered every 2 weeks. No spam. We will never give your info to anyone else.
Mark Hager About Mark Hager

By Mark Hager
LinkedIn | Google | Articles by Mark Hager
Mark Hager is an aging in place thought leader and advocate. He is the founder of, CEO of Age in Place Networks, a leading authority in the aging in place niche and a trusted voice for both consumers and business owners serving older consumers. Over the years, Mark has provided help for thousands of consumers, organizations and small businesses.