West Texas A&M University
Universal Design for Online Materials

Universal Design

Universal design when relating to online courses involves designing information so that the material can be used by the widest range of people possible. Universal design is more than just Accessible Design which mainly involved designed for those with disabilities. Universal design seeks to provide accommodations for human diversity: to make things easier for all people to use.

According to Sheryl Burgstahler and Rebecca Cory (2009), principles of Universal Design for Learning include:

  • Equitable use: Design is appealing and usable for all.
  • Flexibility in use: Choice in methods of use and consideration of preferences is part of the design.
  • Simple and intuitive use: Consistency and ease of use are considered in design.
  • Perceptible information: Information is presented in several ways to accommodate various learner needs. Information is clear and well organized.
  • Tolerance for error: Guidelines and instructions help to steer the learner away from errors or hazards.
  • Low physical effort: Navigation is clear and requires no unnecessary redundancies.
  • Size and space approach and use: Appropriate space to accommodate various learner needs is made available.

View the different Persona's to see different student perspectives and how Universal Design plays an important role in accommodating these persona's.

Accessibility Tips

Additional "Cheat sheets" can be found at The National Center on Disability and Access to Education website.