On Universal Design

a lightbulb on a chalkboard surface with scribbles and notes around it
March 11, 2020

Adam Brisk, Online Learning and Outreach Librarian, shares resources on Universal Design. 

During the month of March, the Kathryn A. Martin Library's Hallway Concourse is home to a display designed and installed by the UMD Commission on Disabilities.  We are sharing a listing of definitions, concepts, training, and organizations that can expand your knowledge. The Center for Excellence in Universal Design defines universal as:

An environment (or any building, product, or service in that environment) should be designed to meet the needs of all people who wish to use it. This is not a special requirement, for the benefit of only a minority of the population. It is a fundamental condition of good design. 

There are 7 Principles of Universal Design that designers and instructors can look to for guidelines:

  • Principle 1: Equitable Design
  • Principle 2: Flexibility in Use
  • Principle 3: Simple and Intuitive Use
  • Principle 4: Perceptible Information
  • Principle 5: Tolerance for Error
  • Principle 6: Low Physical Effort
  • Principle 7: Size and Space for Approach and Use

The seven points of guidance are incorporated into the training and documentation found in the University of Minnesota’s Accessible U site.  (The sites will be receiving a major update in April/May of 2020.)

As of March 11, 2020, the Accessible U offers training and definition for six core skills:

Interested in learning more? Accessible U offers tutorials and training on the Six Core  Skills of Accessibility.

UMD Community members interested in expanding their knowledge further can explore the Accessibility Badging System.  (As of March 10, 2020, there are five self-paced courses to choose from.)

Check your webpage for accessibility by installing the WAVE Tool. Wave installs in your browser and scans web-pages for missing image tags, incorrect structure, incoherent links, and other errors.

Faculty and instructors can Inspect and fix accessibility issues in Canvas Courses by opening UDOIT (located in the left hand navigation) . 

Meet colleagues and co-workers who are passionate about Universal Design such as the Accessibility Ambassadors. This is a University of Minnesota System-wide digital meeting of staff and faculty who provide training, guidance, and communication about universal design.