Design-for-all is a European term that is closely related to universal design in emphasis and goal. Design-for-all refers to the approach taken when designing products, services and environments so that they are as usable as possible and can be used by as many people as possible, regardless of age, ability or situation. The idea is that a design-for-all approach should be taken from the beginning and conception of a product/service/environment and that thought should be focused on the user, taking into account the needs of different members of society and adopting a more inclusive approach. According to the ASK-IT glossary: "Design-for-all: to design products, services and systems that enable as many people as possible to use them".
Equitable Use: The design is useful and marketable to any group of users
Flexibility in use: The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities
Simple and intuitive: Use of the design is easy to understand, regardless of the user's experience, knowledge, language skills or current concentration level.
Perceivable information: The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user's sensory abilities.
Tolerance for error: The design minimises hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions.
Low physical effort: The design can be used efficiently and comfortably and with a minimum of fatigue
Size and space for approach and use: Appropriate size and space is provided for approach, reach, manipulation and use regardless of the user's body size, posture or mobility.
Society (including companies and governments) is increasingly seeing the necessity adopting a design for all approach for many reasons:
The ASK-IT project is working with the design for all principal. ASK-IT aims to develop services for a broad range of people with impairments and has identified 10 User Groups:
1) Lower limb impairment
2) Wheelchair users
3) Upper limb impairment
4) Upper body impairment
5) Physiological impairment
6) Psychological impairment
7) Cognitive impairment
8) Vision impairment
9) Hearing impairment
10) Communication producing and receiving difficulties
As these user groups cover a wide variety of impairments they cover a large majority of the population and go beyond the most traditionally recognised mobility impairments. For example a person who has no problem using public transport in their own country of France, may have problems finding the right train when on holiday in Japan as they do not read or speak Japanese. In this situation they have an impairment. In this way, ASK-Alarm Button
To further clarify the design-for-all approach we have included a short description of a variety of products that have been created following the design-for-all approach. For more information, click on the examples below:
If you work for an organisation or company that produces or designs products/services/environments we would like to hear from you! We would like to hear about your company's attitude towards design-for-all. Please take a few minutes to fill in this questionnaire. Click here to download the questionnaire. Thanks for your time.