Universal Design

Universal Design is the process of designing and building a space to be accessible to a wide range of people.
Experience Progressive Companies

This inclusive, expansive approach recognizes one size does not fit all, but refuses to settle for leaving people on the margins.

In the United States, one in five people lives with a physical or mental disability that can affect the way they travel through, use, or perceive a space. Height, hand dominance, body size, and age are all factors that Universal Design takes into consideration during the pre-design, design, and construction phases.

Universal Design can apply to:

  • Learning environments
  • Health and wellness facilities
  • Hospitals and healthcare
  • Senior living
  • Urban planning
  • Public and commercial buildings
  • Parks and recreational spaces

Universal Design Changes Lives

At Progressive Companies, we believe in the power of Universal Design (UD) and have become experts in building according to its principles. For example, we designed and built the first building in the world to receive certification in UD from the Global Universal Design Commission; the Mary Free Bed YMCA in Grand Rapids, MI.

The principles of Universal Design include:

  • Equitable use – the design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities.
  • Flexibility in use – the design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities.
  • Simple and intuitive use – the design is easy to understand, regardless of the user’s experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level.
  • Size and space for approach – the design features the appropriate size and space for approach, reach, manipulation, and use regardless of the user’s body size, posture, or mobility.
  • Perceptible 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 minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions.
  • Low physical error – the design can be used efficiently and comfortably, and with a minimum of fatigue.

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