Case studies and examples

Many companies and organisations have adopted a Universal Design (UD) approach to evolve their long-term design process and business model. Since every company is different, the implementation of a UDapproach will vary from organisation to organisation. In each organisation there may be a different set of drivers to support UD, be they business or social benefits or legal requirements. The concepts, resources and methodologies proposed by the Centre on this website are presented therefore not as a roadmap but to facilitate discussion and exploration within organisations.

Case studies

These 3 well documented case studies illustrate the process of developing a UD approach and the business benefits of aligning products and services with the principles of Universally Design. Further case studies can be found on the North Carolina State University's Centre for Universal Design website.

In each of the following case studies a user-centred design process was undertaken to gather user requirements, make these requirements understandable and concrete for the developers and involve users in testing and reviews to ensure these requirements were being met. Existing and new products and services were made more usable and accessible to an audience of users which comprised of a wide range age groups, sizes and abilities and disabilities. In each case, this brought about an increase in revenue. These case studies illustrate a justifiable business case to support UD.

Read about the 3 case studies on UD

Examples of UD

The following examples were some of the winners in the universal design award 08 organised by universal design e.V. in partnership with iF International Forum Design and held in Hanover, Germany. The universal design award 08 was launched as a "communication tool" to promote "discussion and debate on tomorrow's standards" with business, government, the public and the research community.

The evaluation criteria for the awards are based on a subset of the principles of Universal Design such as "equitable use", "flexibility in use", "simple and intuitive use" and "tolerance for error". The evaluation criteria also included a range of economic feasibility criteria including "market potential" and "feasibility of implementation".

A number of the winners are shown below to illustrate the many ways in which one of more if the principles of Universal Design can be incorporated into the design of a product. Some of designs show simple, innovative changes that improve the Universal Design appeal of well established products. Other designs exhibit a fundamental redesign of a product's functionality, making it more usable to a wider audience.

A full listing of the categories and winners can be viewed on the iF International Forum Design website.

Information on universal design award 09 is now available.

Read the examples of UD