Universal Design India Principles

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The Universal Design India principles are based on the cultural needs of the Indian people. They acknowledge the 7 principles of UD and build on their social and equitable agenda. There are two important aspects to the UDIP:

1) A strong connection to Indian psyche,
2) Customization.

India, a country with strong historic and cultural past, has deep rooted traditions that are part of our social and cultural life. Indians are pragmatic people whose needs are grounded in reality of, for example, making things work (it is not a throwaway society) and making money go longer (frugal people, looking for best deals). There and other important Indian issues like the aesthetics and the culture make these people unique. The 7 principles of UD are functional directives that when overlaid with the 5 Indian principles organize them for Indian use. These principles are much needed for the success of UD in India.

The 7 principles of UD are overarching UD principles, internationally. But UDIP is developed to complement these principles and contextualize them to address regional requirements. In the spirit of universal design which advocates against "one design fits all", the UDIP are additional principles which when added to the larger framework of the 7 principles, allow customizing UD applications, regionalizing UD contexts and localizing the global idea of UD. Like most physical laws (example, building laws) which incorporate variations to suit local environmental conditions, the 7 principles in combination with Indian principles are different principles within the larger social framework that help to regionalize the 7 principles. Customization is key to universal design, and the inclusion of the Indian principles allows customizing UD for the Indian region.

The five principles of Universal Design India address the needs of diverse Indian users across ability, age, socio-economic strata and culture. Developed at the National Institute of Design and co-authored by nine Indian experts, these principles would help strategize design activity and move India towards social and economic inclusion.

Co-Authors (alphabetically):

  • Abir Mullick, Professor Georgia Tech, and Fulbright-Nehru Scholar in-Residence, National Institute of Design, AhmedabadAnjlee Agarwal, Samarthyam, New Delhi
  • Balaram S., D J Acdemy of Design, Coimbatore
  • Debkumar Chakrabarti, Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati
  • Gaurav Raheja, Indian Institute of Technology, Roorkee
  • Haimanti Banerjee, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur
  • Rachna Khare, School of Planning and Architecture, Bhopal
  • Ravi Shankar, National Institute of Design, Bangalore
  • Shivani Gupta, AccessAbility, New Delhi


National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad