Universal design – what is it & why you need it
Your business must offer accessibility, openness, and inclusivity for all workers currently and in the future.
Most small businesses and even larger businesses focus on the physical aspect of the workplace. This is a perfect starting point; when you consider accessibility, ideally, you are looking for wheelchair ramps, lift installations, hearing aid support systems accessibility in terms of tools and devices, and so much more.
The idea is that you make all reasonable adjustments possible in your business so that your staff can work happily regardless of whether they have a visible or an invisible disability.
Whether you are looking at the physical workplace, you are looking at the following items: the overall accessibility of the workplace, the accessibility of signage associated with the workplace accessibility of the waiting and reception areas, and the internal accessibility of the workplace.
This is where universal design comes in.
The premise of universal design is to ensure that a space is designed and composed so that it is understood, used, and accessed to the greatest extent by as many people as possible regardless of their disability, ability, size, age, and more.
Once an environment is genuinely usable, convenient, and accessible for everyone, there are benefits to be had.
When considering all the diverse needs and abilities throughout the design process, a universal design will produce services, environments, and products that meet the needs of the people.
In more simple terms, universal design is simply a good design that considers as many people as possible.
While the universal design has been around since 1997, it is still commonplace for many workplaces not to have universal design or accessibility.
There are seven principles to universal design that you need to know about to implement within your business.
Equitable use means the workspace design is marketable and useful to people with diverse abilities or disabilities.
Simple and intuitive use means the design is simple to understand and does not rely on the knowledge, language skills, concentration level, or user experience.
Flexibility in use means that the design of the workspace or products accommodates a more extensive range of individual preferences and abilities or disabilities.
Low physical effort means that something can be used comfortably and efficiently with minimum fatigue. This is specifically useful for chronic pain disorders or other disabilities that often cause fatigue.
Perceptible information considers how the design or the layout communicates the information to the user. Again this is regardless of the conditions or the uses of sensory abilities. So it takes into account as many people’s needs as possible.
Tolerance for error means that this design will minimize any other hazards or possible adverse consequences for unintended or accidental actions.
Space and size for approach and use means that the space will always be the appropriate size regardless of the user’s body size, posture, or mobility. This takes into consideration and manipulation approach and safety.
Universal design is not just good for morale; it is the right thing to do. If you consider how you can make your office or work environment more friendly to most people, consider universal design the golden ticket.
It’s not just the office environment that makes leaps in catering for workers; read more: Modern warehouses are putting employees first – Business Money.