Universal Design is For Everyone

is a relatively new term and as such many homeowners don’t really understand what it is and what it isn’t. Simply stated, isn’t just for disabled persons. It makes all of our lives easier, through the use of products and design, no matter what your age or physical condition is. is a style of building or remodeling that can include, design specific ingredients such as aging in place, smart home technology, and space planning.

Let me use a few examples that we all can relate to. Remember back when you had to carry your books to school? Along came the style of backpacks that allowed you to carry all your books, laptop and even your lunch easily. From that simple design idea the front-pack baby carriers were developed, both of which are a form of universal design, once again making life easier for everyone. Another example of a universal design product we all can relate to are the small wheels that are installed on suitcases. These wheels applied to the bottom of our suitcases allow you to haul your luggage through an airport or hotel hallway with greater ease.

If we take a look at universal design in our homes we can find many examples that a mere 10 years ago were absent from our home. Although some of which may have been used commercially or in situations where you were building or remodeling for disabled persons.  Infrared sensors on faucets and hand dryers are just such examples, as are infrared sensors on toilets.

Looking at the inroads smart technology has made into universal design is as easy as looking at your HVAC system. You can now turn your HVAC system on and off and even adjust the temperature from your smart phone or laptop. You can monitor your alarm system from your smart phone and receive text messages when an alarm is tripped or be notified when a predetermined event takes place such as low temperature or sump pump failure.

Certain types of lighting controls fall under universal design, such as dimmers, and I am sure we all have walked into a bathroom and had the light go on magically. Obviously it was controlled by a wall switch that senses motion and turns on, and after a predetermined amount of time turns the lights off, once again making life easier and additionally saving energy. Door bell intercom systems that ring to the phones in the house are yet another example of universal design.

I am sure you can think of examples in your own life and home that fall under the universal design umbrella, making our lives easier.  If you think about it, isn’t that the need that the vast majority of invention address, making our life easier and more comfortable.

 

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