Singapore University of Social Sciences

Universal Design

Universal Design (HFS309)


Universal Design (UD) is the design of products, services, system or environment to be usable by all people, to the largest extent possible, without the need for adaption or specialized design. It uses the concept of inclusive design or designing for all (DfA), so that people of diverse and varying abilities, such as infants and children, expectant mothers, elderly, wheelchair users, ambulant disabled, the visually or hearing impaired, or even a tourist in a foreign land can have equitable use of the product, service, system or environment. In HFS309 Universal Design, students will learn about the goals, principles, processes and applications of Universal Design through the lens of the built environment.

Level: 3
Credit Units: 5
Presentation Pattern: EVERY JULY


  • Introduction to Universal Design
  • Human Factors in the built environment
  • Varied Abilities
  • Environmental Factors
  • Application of Universal Design in different projects
  • Universal Design in the local context

Learning Outcome

  • Illustrate the diverse and varying needs of people and determining barriers of usability and accessibility to these groups of people
  • Discuss the goals, principles, processes and applications of universal design
  • Appraise the design of a product, service, system or environment in terms of equitable design, flexibility in use, simple and intuitive use, perceptible information, tolerance for error, low physical effort and size and space for approach and use
  • Demonstrate understanding and ability to apply Universal Design in products, services, systems and environment
  • Recommend design strategies to improve or enhance a product, service, system or environment’s usability or accessibility
  • Determine a built environment’s Universal Design Score
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