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.
The Canadian Museum for Human Rights acknowledges the fundamental importance of the principle of Universal Design in its building and its exhibitions, web presence, and programs. This principle was stated by the members of the Museum Content Advisory Committee in their 2010 Report:
“The Museum should engage expertise in accessibility and universal design to ensure that all consultations, as well as all programs, exhibits, the website, and the building itself, are fully accessible to persons with disabilities.”
The term “Universal Design” was coined by the late Ronald L. Mace, a fellow of the American Institute of Architects. The intent of Universal Design is to simplify life for everyone by making products, communications, and the built environment more usable by as many people as possible at little or no extra cost. Universal Design benefits people of all ages and abilities.
Universal Design and Inclusive Design are often considered synonyms. However, more currently Inclusive Design has been interpreted to have a wider umbrella, embracing diversity in social and economic circumstances, while encompassing the Universal Design ethos.
Our commitment to Inclusive Design and Universal Design moves beyond accessibility to ensure that our museum experience is not only accessible for all ages and abilities but is also enriching and satisfying for all. Universal Design is not a design style, but an orientation to design, based on the following premises:
- Disability is not a special condition of a few;
- Disability is ordinary and affects most of us for some part of our lives;
- If a design works well for people with disabilities, it works better for everyone;
- Usability and aesthetics are mutually compatible.
The CMHR will incorporate Inclusive / Universal Design into all its projects, products, and programs as part of its brand promise.
To learn more about it read:
Our news releases
- CMHR’s Inclusive Design Advisory Council aims to make Museum experience universally enriching
- CMHR to feature the most inclusive design in Canadian history; accessibility sets global example, surpasses Smithsonian guidelines