Products & Services


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Products can be defined as objects that are found:

  • At work (e.g. office furniture, equipment, tools, dispensers)
  • In public spaces (e.g. elevators, kiosks, rest room fixtures)

(Story and Mueller, 2001)

Universal Design of products has the potential to stretch far beyond the Design of the product itself. Universal Design should be considered and applied at:

  • Design Concept stage: The needs of the end users should be incorporated as soon as the Design idea is being formulated
  • Design Development stages: End users can be consulted and can take part in user testing throughout the Design development
  • Product Marketing stage: If a product has been Designed to be as accessible and usable as possible, it can and should be marketed as such. Marketing material itself should be accessible and understandable
  • Packaging Design: A universally Designed product loses its use if the packaging it is sold in is not easy or possible to open
  • Design of accompanying instructions: A universally Designed product loses its use if the accompanying instruction manual or labels are not readable or understandable
  • Product procurement: Widening the responsibility far beyond the product Designer alone, clients, managers, planners, architects, engineers and others who are in control of buying products for a company, for installation in a building, for resale, etc., can decide to only buy products that are proven to be accessible and usable.

The following section contain UDRs on products and services under the headings:

Universal Design process for products and services

To accomplish the goal of universally Designed products and services it is recognised as best practice to use an effective Design

The Double Diamond Design process is a model that is promoted by the Design Council of the UK on their website.

The Double Diamond Design process model incorcopartes best practices and represents them as the four distinct phases of:

  • Discover
  • Define
  • Develop
  • Deliver

The Institute of Designers in Ireland promotes the evolution of good Design practices across a spectrum of sectors in their
A Guide to Studying Design in Ireland.

The wide range of areas of study and practice in Design is represented in the categories are listed in their guide as:

  • Architecture
  • Landscape architecture
  • Art & Design Education
  • Craft Design
  • Fashion Design
  • Graphic Design
  • Visual communication
  • Industrial Design
  • Product Design
  • Interior Architecture
  • Interior Design
  • New Media
  • Multimedia
  • Textile Design

Guidelines for products and services

An example of product and service guidelines has been established as an extension of the seven principles of universal Design. In 2002 The Center for Universal Design, N.C. State University reported on the development of universal Design performance measures in their article
Evaluating the Universal Design Performance of ProductsEUDPP, Molly Story, James Mueller, and M. Montoya-Weiss, 2002, 6-page foldout chart plus 3-page insert.

The Guide to Evaluating the Universal Design Performance of Products is as a tool for:

  • Identifying potential areas for improvement for a product
  • Comparing relative strengths of similar products
  • Identifying particular strengths of a product such as for marketing purposes.

Along with a checklist or chart style tool the work is arranged as in the following version 1example as a set of 29 statements around the original 7 Principles of Universal Design:

Principle One: Equitable Use
1A All potential users could use this product in essentially the same way, regardless of differences in their abilities.

1B Every potential user could use this product without feeling segregated or stigmatized because of differences in personal capabilities.

1C Every potential user of this product has access to all features of privacy, security and safety, regardless of personal

1D This product appeals to all potential users.
Principle Two: Flexibility in Use
2A Every potential user can find at least one way to use this product effectively.

2B This product can be used with either the right or left hand alone.

2C This product facilitates (or does not require) user accuracy and precision.

2D This product can be used at whatever pace (quickly or slowly) the user prefers.
Principle Three: Simple and Intuitive Use
3A This product is as simple and straightforward as it can be.

3B An untrained person could use this product without instructions.

3C Any potential user can understand the language used in this product.

3D The most important features of this product are the most obvious.

3E This product provides feedback to the user.
Principle Four: Perceptible Information
4A This product can be used without hearing.

4B This product can be used without sight.

4C The features of this product can be clearly described in words (e.g., in instruction manuals or on telephone help lines).

4D This product can be used by persons who use assistive devices (e.g., eyeglasses, hearing aids, sign language, or service animals).
Principle Five: Tolerance for Error
5A Product features are arranged according to their importance.

5B This product draws the user's attention to errors or hazards.

5C If the user makes a mistake with this product, it won't cause damage or injure the user.

5D This product prompts the user to pay attention during critical tasks.
Principle Six: Low Physical Effort
6A This product can be used comfortably (e.g., without awkward movements or postures).

6B This product can be used by someone who is weak or tired.

6C This product can be used without repeating any motions enough to cause fatigue or pain.

6D This product can be used without having to rest afterward.
Principle Seven: Size and Space for approach and Use
7A It is easy for a person of any size to see all the important elements of this product from any position (e.g., standing or seated).

7B It is easy for a person of any size to reach all the important elements of this product from any position (e.g., standing or seated).

7C This product can be used by a person with hands of any size.

7D There is enough space to use this product with devices or assistance (e.g., wheelchair, oxygen tank, service animal, or another person).

Checklists for products and services

Checklists specifically for the appropriateness of universally Designed products and services are under development. The following list identifies samples of checklists on quality measures involving product and service:

  • The checklist from the
    U.S. Architectural & Transportation Barriers Compliance Board
    , October, 1992 is Designed for assistance with the review of environments with numerous criteria on related products and services:

    This checklist has been prepared to assist individuals and entities with rights or duties under Title II, and Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in applying the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) to buildings and facilities subject to the law.

Standards for products and services

Products and services standards have been developed not only around safety and quality of products but also on how the user understands and interacts with the product. An example is the standard, ANSI Z535.6 — A New Standard for Safety Information in
Product-Accompanying Literature
 at ANSI, developed primarily and promoted as best practice guidance by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) although it is also enforceable as regulation in some applications by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) under its Hazard Communication Standard.

ISO/PAS 18152 (2003) Ergonomics of human-system interaction - Specification for the process assessment of human-system issues

This presents a human-systems (HS) model for use in
ISO/IEC 15504-conformant assessment of the maturity of an organization in performing the processes that make a system usable, healthy and safe. It describes processes that address human-system issues and the outcomes of these processes. It details the practices and work products associated with achieving the outcomes of each process.

ISO/TR 16982 (2002) Ergonomics of human-system interaction - Usability methods supporting human-centred Design

This technical report outlines the different types of usability methods that can be used to support user centred Design.

ISO/DIS 9241-304 (2008 — still under development)

Ergonomics of human-system interaction - Part 304: User performance test method

ISO/DIS 7250-1 (2008) Basic human body measurements for technological Design - Part 1: Body measurement definitions and landmarks

This provides a description of anthropometric measurements which can be used as a basis for comparison of population groups. It is intended to serve as a guide for ergonomists who are required to define population groups and apply their knowledge to the geometric Design of the places where people work and live.