Universal Design is about creating an inclusive world where we leave no one behind. There a many good reasons for, why we should do Universal Design, and some of them are:
- Global Impact of Disabilities: Approximately 1.85 billion people globally have some form of disability, and a significant percentage of these disabilities are invisible. This underlines the vast number of individuals who can benefit from universally designed products and environments.
- Senior Population: There are around 962 million people aged 60 or over globally, and this number is expected to double by 2050. A significant portion of this group has disabilities, emphasizing the growing need for designs that cater to older adults.
- Economic Considerations: The spending power of people over 65 is immense, estimated at 54 trillion DKK per year. This indicates a substantial market for universally designed products and services.
- Assistive Technology Needs: There are 2.5 billion people globally need assistive technology, and this number is expected to rise to 3.5 billion by 2050. However, 90% of them will not have access to necessary assistive technology, signifying a large gap that Universal Design can help bridge.
- Innovation Driven by Disability: Universal Design is not just about accessibility; it’s also a driver of innovation. Many technologies initially created for people with disabilities have found their way into mainstream use, enhancing the quality of life for a broader audience.
- Legislation and Regulation: The European Union’s Accessibility Act and Web Accessibility Directive, highlighting the increasing legal emphasis on inclusive and accessible design.
In conclusion, Universal Design is crucial not only for ethical and social inclusion reasons but also for economic and innovation considerations. It represents a proactive approach to designing products, services, and environments that are accessible, usable, and beneficial to as many people as possible, including those with disabilities and other often marginalized groups. This approach is increasingly recognized as essential by both legal frameworks and market forces.