The Goals of Universal Design

The University at Buffalo’s Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access developed the 8 Goals of Universal Design, expanding universal design’s original focus to include social participation and health and wellness.

Defining Outcomes

The 8 Goals of Universal Design define the outcomes of Universal Design practice in ways that can be measured and applied to all design domains within the constraints of existing resources. In addition, they encompass functional, social, and emotional dimensions. Moreover, each goal is supported by an interdisciplinary knowledge base (e.g., anthropometrics, biomechanics, perception, cognition, safety, health promotion, and social interaction).

Universal Design Goals

Universal Design is “a design process that enables and empowers a diverse population by improving human performance, health and wellness, and social participation” (Steinfeld and Maisel, 2012).

Body Fit

Accommodating a wide range of body sizes and abilities.


Keeping demands within desirable limits of body function and perception.


Ensuring that critical information for use is easily perceived.


Making methods of operation and use intuitive, clear, and unambiguous.


Contributing to health promotion, avoidance of disease, and protection from hazards.

Social Integration

Treating all groups with dignity and respect.


Incorporating opportunities for choice and the expression of individual preferences.

Cultural Appropriateness

Respecting and reinforcing cultural values, and the social and environmental contexts of any design project.