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Universal Design: Everyone Benefits

Working Group. Three young architects working on a project at a table in the study

The Northwest Universal Design Council (NWUDC) invites you to attend a special presentation by Marthalee Galeota, access and disability program manager for the Starbucks Coffee Company, on Thursday, February 9, 2017. The presentation will be held in conjunction with an exhibit called “Open to All: Designing for the Full Range of Human Experience” at the Center for Architecture & Design, operated by the Seattle chapter of the American Institute of Architects (Seattle AIA).

Ms. Galeota leads Starbucks disability initiatives and strategic planning, collaborates and advises business units on universal design and access, manages interpreter services, and designs and implements training programs on disability and access. She joined Starbucks in 2004 and has built a network of “access ambassadors” across the company, which was named a top employer for disability hiring and inclusion in 2015.

Galeota served on the team that planned the “Open to All” exhibit, which demonstrates why designers must move beyond the “one size fits all” approach. Universal Design—as promoted by the NWUDC—is design for all ages, all abilities, all the time.

Open to all TV

For more information about the Open to All exhibit, click on the graphic above.

“When the principles of Universal Design are considered, early and often, you don’t see it, it’s just better design,” says Tom Minty, a founding NWUDC member and member of the Seattle-King County Advisory Council on Aging & Disability Services. “Equity, flexibility, simplicity, ease of use—when architects, designers, and builders consider Universal Design principles early and often, everyone benefits. The principles were developed with the built environment and ‘visitability’ in mind but the same can be said for any kind of design process.”

The NWUDC event is scheduled Thursday, February 9, 2017 from 9:30–11:30 a.m. at the Center for Architecture & Design (1010 Western Avenue, Seattle). The presentation is free and open to the public.

CART captioning will be provided. For questions about accessibility or to request an accommodation, contact NWUDC coordinator Irene Stewart at at your earliest opportunity.

The 7 Principles of Universal Design

The principles of Universal Design were developed by a group of architects, product designers, engineers, and environmental design researchers in 1997. For guidelines, click here.

  1. Equitable Use—The design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities.
  2. Flexibility in Use—The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities.
  3. Simple and Intuitive Use—Use of the design is easy to understand, regardless of the user’s experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level.
  4. Perceptible Information—The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user’s sensory abilities.
  5. Tolerance for Error—The design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions.
  6. Low Physical Effort—The design can be used efficiently and comfortably and with a minimum of fatigue.
  7. 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.