Simplicity is key to so much of universal design. We’re completely sold on the idea and we don’t want to offer a complex explanation (paradoxical, huh?). Let’s unpack the concept of simplicity though. When we want to do something and are presented with multiple options, there’s something in our brains that says “pick the simple one,” even if we feel up for a challenge or see benefit in something more involved that may influence us otherwise. But what if multiple options don’t exist and there’s only one choice?
The easier something is to use or understand, the more likely that people will be independent with it.Again, consider people with less-than-perfect abilities. All too often, the lack of flexibility (hint, hint) in designs of places, products, and programs creates a situation in which there is unnecessary complexity involved. This may be in the form of something overly difficult to manage based on physical or mental capacity. Perhaps the “accessible” route requires extra distance and/or additional actions to get to the same location as the “standard” route. Maybe a registration process for an event assumes that everyone perceives information the same way, but cluttered print layouts make it difficult for some people to focus on what needs to be filled out. Maybe those same people can’t read a certain language and there aren’t any illustrations to assist. There are countless situations that people with physical or mental limitations can encounter, and our objective is to help minimize struggles by building simplicity into a design.
It shouldn’t matter what someone’s abilities are, or what their knowledge or experience levels are.Think of every person you know. Even if no one comes to mind who has a diagnosed physical or cognitive disability, there’s bound to be at least one person who just seems to have a screw loose in their head, and you know that there’s a certain amount of intuitiveness necessary that makes things much easier for that person to understand what’s going on. That’s what we’re after here. The easier something is to use or understand, the more likely that people will be independent with it. It shouldn’t matter what someone’s abilities are, or what their knowledge or experience levels are. The simpler, the better.
Simplicity wins when designing universally-designed things for the benefit of the greatest number of people.This applies to physical effort as well. We don’t want people exerting themselves to the point of fatigue, or feel like they have to compromise on what should naturally be comfortable. This could be applied to the process of making dinner at home, specifically with the operation of appliances, or maybe to the routes one has to take through airports while traveling. Context will reveal issues in greater depth, but simplicity wins every time when designing places, products, or programs for the benefit of the greatest number of people.[bookpagefooter]