What is Universal or Inclusive Design?

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Return to the Universal or Inclusive Design page to see all resources 

Universal Design

  • The concept of ‘universal design’ advocates creating products and environments that focus on the needs of a wide range of users meaning they can be equally accessed by those of any age, as well as people with and without disabilities. 'Design for all’ and ‘inclusive design’ are also terms used to mean something similar. 
  • Universal design also promotes the concept that by creating products for those whose needs are often not met we actually create better products for everyone that also have positive implications for the wider mass market. The dropped curb, created by Selwyn Goldsmith is a good example of this as it is now a standard feature in the built environment.
  • See the 7 principles of universal design


  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of inclusive design?
  • Evaluate a product to assess if it has been designed with inclusive design in mind. 
  • If the product you have looked at is not inclusive what adaptations would need to be made to make it inclusive? 
  • Students: The links below might be a good starting point for writing a project design brief. Look at the article on inclusive fashion design to kickstart your thinking. 
  • Teachers: The Inclusive Design website includes free resources that might be useful for teaching this area. As the website is by Cambridge University some of the content  uses the Explore, Create, Evaluate, Manage design concepts that OCR use for the GCSE D&T 2017 specification. 

Other links

A set posters by the DfE on the dos and don’ts of designing for accessibility, including low vision, hearing loss, dyslexia, motor disabilities, autism & screen readers. 

The Centre for Excellence in Universal Design website

Inclusive Design website - including free resources, as well as some products to buy that simulate different impairments

Article on inclusive fashion design

Find out more about adaptive fashion which creates garments that are fashionable but functional for people with disabilities  

Report by the British Dyslexia Association with guidelines on designing with dyslexia in mind. 

Return to the Universal or Inclusive Design page to see all resources 

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