Four Premises of Universal Design
The following are the four basic premises of Universal Design (Taken directly from Adaptive Environments’ website:

  1. Varying ability is not a special condition of the few but a common characteristic of being human and we change physically and intellectually throughout our lives;

  2. If a design works well for people with disabilities, it works better for everyone;

  3. At any point in our lives, personal self-esteem, identity and well-being are deeply affected by our ability to function in our physical surroundings with a sense of comfort, independence and control (Weisman, 1999);

  4. Usability and aesthetics are mutually compatible.


It’s important to know how UDL got started and where it came from because that history is important in understanding how UDL is different from other concepts, such as accessibility or differentiated instruction.  As the history highlights, Universal Design got its start more in usability and human factors engineering – how can we design products and buildings that are more accessible to the broadest range of individuals possible?

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