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Faculty Guide: Universal Design

Universal Design (UD) is the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.  The intent of UD is to simplify life for everyone by making products, communications, and the built environment more usable by as many people as possible at little or no extra cost. Universal design benefits people of all ages and abilities.

Universal Design of Instruction Examples

  • Create an environment that respects and values diversity. Put a statement on your syllabus inviting students to meet with you to discuss disability-related accommodations and other learning needs.
  • Assure that all classrooms labs and fieldwork are in locations accessible to individuals with a wide range of physical abilities and disabilities.
  • Use multiple modes to deliver content (including lecture, discussion, hands-on activities, Internet-based interaction, and fieldwork).
  • Provide printed or Web-based materials which summarize content that is delivered orally.
  • Face the class and speak clearly.
  • Use captioned videos.
  • Provide printed materials in electronic format.
  • Use accessible Web pages (text descriptions of graphics).
  • Provide printed materials early so that students can prepare to access the materials in alternate formats.
  • Create printed and Web-based materials in simple, consistent formats.
  • Provide effective prompting during an activity and feedback after the assignment is completed.
  • Provide multiple ways for students to demonstrate knowledge.
  • Make sure equipment and activities minimize sustained physical effort.