Universal Design is a design ideology that aims to make the final product, or environment, more accessible to people of varying abilities.
This design strategy ensures that a wider audience has equal access to your product or environment.
By making your brand more inclusive, Universal Design allows you to expand your customer base. In addition, it creates strong customer loyalty, especially if your competition does not excel in applying Universal Design.
This article will discuss how Universal Design can improve your brand performance. In addition, we will also go through the process of implementing Universal Design and its 7 principles.
Universal Design can be tricky to implement depending on the product (or service). Designing something inclusive in the real world requires guidelines to ensure the best use of resources.
For this reason, the Center for Excellence in Universal Design has developed the 7 Principles of Universal Design.
These principles were designed by experts from different fields, such as product designers, architects, engineers, and environmental design researchers.
These principles are purposefully developed to guide the implementation of Universal Design in different fields.
Experts can use these guidelines in the design of environments, communications, and products.
Let’s go over these 7 principles.
The design should be useful and marketable to people with varying abilities.
The final design should accommodate multiple kinds of individual preferences and abilities.
The design should be easy to understand for all users regardless of experience, language skills, knowledge, or concentration level.
Necessary information should be effectively communicated to the user, regardless of the user’s sensory abilities or ambient conditions.
The design should minimize consequences for accidental, or unintended actions.
The design use should be efficient and comfortable with minimum fatigue.
Size and space should be appropriately provided regardless of the user’s body size, posture, or mobility.
Typically, Universal Design is implemented to make the final product more accessible to people with disabilities. However, the outcomes are not only making the product more accessible to some, but they are also improving the design for all users.
To illustrate this point, we can consider a few examples from brands that incorporated inclusive design changes, which ended up being liked by their customers on a larger scale.
When the pharmaceutical giant was creating a bottle for its pain relief brand, it needed to ensure that its users would be able to open it with ease.
The bottle that ended up being released to the consumers was welcomed by those with arthritis and other users using the product for pain relief.
For commercial giants like PepsiCo, consistency is a major factor in decision-making. This approach is also reflected in their design ideology.
For thirty years, PepsiCo maintained a uniform design for its two-liter soda bottles as it was easy to manufacture on a large scale and good enough for consumers.
However, in 2020, the company unveiled a new design that featured a “grip point.” This section of the bottle was slimmed down to make it easier for smaller hands to grip and pour.
According to a representative from PepsiCo, the design “took an immense amount of work” to implement.
The new bottle was a massive hit, with PepsiCo reporting that 90% of consumers found the new design substantially easier to grip and pour than the previous design.
QUT set out to make art more accessible to people with visual or hearing impairments.
They did this by turning traditional paintings into 3D models and soundscapes. Thanks to these innovations, people can now experience paintings in different mediums.
This inclusive design innovation won national and international awards and was appreciated by able-bodied visitors.
Visa provides feedback in three different mediums once a transaction is successful. This method of providing affirmation to action is known as Sensory Branding.
The feedback is provided by visual, sound, and haptic sensations. This feedback allows every user of the platform to be confident about their transactions despite their impairments.
However, this feedback was approved by all users of the platform; users liked the way their transactions were confirmed.
These examples prove that Universal Design should not be looked at as a design choice for a select few. Rather, we should understand that more accessible designs make it easier for all consumers to enjoy the product.
For this reason, brands worldwide focus on spending more time and resources to integrate accessibility into their design ethos.
Major manufacturers, like Toshiba, have developed dedicated guidelines within their companies to ensure that their final products are accessible to diverse users.
These guidelines and the focus on implementing Universal design have allowed Toshiba to win a Bronze Award in the IAUD International Design Award.
The IAUD, or International Association for Universal Design, conducts activities that allow them to provide recognition to groups and individuals that have made noteworthy progress in developing inclusive designs.
For their innovations in creating accessible art, the QUT design team won a gold award from the IAUD. In addition, their design team gained international recognition and fame for their efforts.
There is no doubt that the benefits of implementing Universal Design are plenty, both for the end user and the brand.
Internationally, the trend to design inclusively has been on a steady rise, and consumers are also looking for product designs that are accessible, inclusive, and easy to use.
Given the trends in the age distribution of the world population, there is no doubt that populations in many countries are getting older overall and, as a result, require designs that are more accommodating to their physical abilities.
Accommodating the older population will ensure that your products have a strong following from a major segment of society.
To realise how relevant is the impact of the website usability on our business is necessary to step back and reflect on the nowadays importance of the websites usage by companies. Today websites play an extremely significant role in every business whether it’s large or small. However, studies have shown that 36% of small businesses haven’t a website.
If you’re part of those not yet convinced that even small business need a website, some studies have been conducted to better understand how customers interact with companies and their products/services. Researches have shown that between 70-80% of people research a company online before visiting the small business or making a purchase with them.
Besides, studies from Stanford discovered that 75% of users, admit to making judgments about a company’s credibility based on its website.