Universal Design

A guide to universal usability for technical writers

What is Universal Design?

According to Sheryl Burgstahler from the Center for Universal Design in North Carolina, Universal Design is the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design. You have many opportunities to make products usable for all audiences. Ideally, applying Universal Design in any field means making a product or environment that all people can use without assistive devices or specialized tools. With so much to consider in developing written material, you need to use Universal Design principles to reach as many people as possible. This website is a guide for technical writers to use when implementing Universal Design in their print and web design and writing.

Core Principles

The Center for Universal Design, a research center that promotes Universal Design in all fields, lists seven principles to follow when designing products universally. These principles are applicable in many industries, including Technical Writing.

How to use this site

If you are new to the field of technical writing or unfamiliar with the concept of Universal Design, take time to look through the History and Rationale sections of the website to learn more about how Universal Design can improve your print and web design and writing.

If you are more familiar with these concepts and need a quick reference guide to using Universal Design in your work, visit the Print and Web sections.

If you have questions or comments about this site or Universal Design and its implementation in your writing, go to the Contact section.