Universal Design an Expression of Love
Love and forgiveness, in many ways, are about inclusivity, including how we engineer and design products, buildings, and communities both physical and virtual. The concept of universal design is based on maximum inclusivity--designing and creating products for the greatest breadth of users and accessibility for all.
In conjunction with a recent redesign of its website, the Fetzer Institute consulted with accessibility experts to test the site and suggest improvements. In addition, Engineering advisors helped us create a short video chronicling the process and discussing the importance of universal design.
“We’ll continue to work towards universal accessibility in all that we do,” says Fetzer Institute Director of Communications Kyle Johnson, “because we see a connection between universal design and love and forgiveness.”
Altruistic in nature, the concept of universal access should also appeal to business interests. “It’s important for people who are producing products to understand that there’s a huge market potential for practicing universal design and trying to reach the broadest possible audience,” says Terrill Thompson, an accessibility expert with the University of Washington.
In the context of a website, this means including tags that describe photographs, machine-readable text, and captioned and translated videos that all users can access. In addition, content creators should use clear language to enable readers of all levels to understand the material. Now that the redesign has been launched, the group is planning a second review of the web content to improve the usability even further.
This is a project of the Fetzer Advisory Council on the Engineering Professions.