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Universal Design and Accessibility

Universal design is a concept in which products and environments are designed to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaption or specialized design.

Accessibility is about more than compliance with standards. It’s about developing solutions to meet the needs of all users, with and without disabilities. Universal design, a concept now widely used in the private sector, provides a path for federal agencies to shift to this broader focus.

Federal agencies are responsible for developing accessible information and communications technology (ICT) tools, products and websites. Adopting universal design principles can help your agency address and improve accessibility in areas such as digital strategy, procurement, and design and implementation of digital products.

Through universal design, your agency will:

  • Save money by investing in the most accessible products from the start;
  • Innovate and create products for everyone regardless of ability; and
  • Engage staff, promote inclusivity, and pave the way for more people with disabilities to join the workforce.

Invest in universal design to transform the way your agency serves citizens, regardless of ability, and create tools and products that are easier for everyone to use.

Training Videos

An Introduction to Universal Design for Video Series

An Introduction to Universal Design for Content Creators

This four-part video series provides an introduction to Universal Design for content creators, developers, managers and procurement professionals. It includes resources, tips, and tricks for designing products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.

Duration: 18m 21s | 4-Part Video Series

Design with Everyone in Mind

Usability testing (UT) helps you gather quantitative and qualitative data from representative users - including those with disabilities. User testing and design personas should include people with disabilities and combined with evaluating conformance to Section 508 Standards and in accordance with other accessibility guidelines to identify a complete set of usability issues and opportunities for improvement.

See Tips for Usability Testing with People with Disabilities for more information on including accessibility considerations in your designs.

Learn More About Universal Design


If you have questions or want to share your experiences using universal design, contact GSA’s Government-wide IT Accessibility Program:

Before You Go

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Reviewed/Updated: August 2023

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