A Framework and Representation for Universal Product Design
Daniel A. McAdams, Vincent Kostovich Kostovich


This paper presents a product analysis framework for improving research and practice in universal design—a term commonly used to describe goods and services that are usable both by persons with a disability and by typical users. Seventeen percent of the U.S. population has some form of a disability. Nevertheless, many companies are unfamiliar with approaches to achieving universal design. A key element of the framework presented here is the combination of activity diagrams and functional models. The framework is applied in the analysis of 20 pairs of products that satisfy a common high-level need, but are different in that one of the products is intended for fully able users while the other is intended for persons with a disability or with reduced functioning. Discoveries based on the analysis include categorizing the differences between typical and universal products as functional, morphological, or parametric. Additionally, it appears that simple products can be made more accessible through parametric changes, whereas more complex products require functional additions and changes.

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