Universal Design

What Makes Arts Programs and Spaces More Accessible?

Universal design is a way to develop environments that are broadly accessible to a diverse population. Incorporation of the principals of universal design early in the program development process can pay off by making activities useable by as many people as possible in the long term. Consider these seven principals when creating or reviewing a new product, program or environment.

Principle One: Equitable Use
The designs are useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities.

Principle Two: Flexibility in Use
Designs accommodate a wide range of individual preferences and abilities.

Principle Three: Simple and Intuitive Use
Uses of designs are easy to understand, regardless of the user’s experience, knowledge, language skills or current concentration level.

Principle Four: Perceptible Information
The designs communicate necessary information effectively to the user regardless of ambient conditions or the user’s sensory abilities.

Principle Five: Tolerance of Error
The designs minimize 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 to Use
The design provides appropriate size and space for approaching, reaching, manipulating and using regardless of user’s body size, posture or mobility.

Copyright © 1997 NC State University, The Center for Universal Design

(Excerpted from “Accessibility and Planning for All,” https://www.arts.gov/sites/default/files/AccessibilityPlanningAll.pdf)

For resources and publications: https://www.arts.gov/accessibility/accessibility-resources/publications-checklists/accessibility-planning-and-resource

For local training and technical assistance: http://nwadacenter.org/

For Access Reimbursement Funding from the Oregon Arts Commission: https://www.oregonartscommission.org/grants/access-reimbursement


Oregon Arts Commission

(503) 986-0082 (phone)
(503) 581-5115 (fax)
775 Summer Street NE, Ste 200
Salem, OR 97301-1280