Our Perspective

The Institute for Human Centered Design's two core convictions drive our perspective that universal design must become intrinsic to good design now:

  1. Design is powerful and profoundly influences our daily lives and our sense of confidence, comfort, and control.

  2. Variation in human ability is ordinary, not special, and, affects most of us for some part of our lives. This is more true today than at any other time in human history.

Words are important but not more important than either concept or action. Whether the concept is called universal design, inclusive design, design-for-all - or whether the designer has integrated the concept without knowing a name - what matters is that the design anticipates the reality of diversity in our bodies and our brains and builds in solutions. We use the term human centered design for both its simplicity and breadth.

We see design as the work of "changing existing situations into preferred ones." [Simon, 1967] With that perspective, we focus our attention on places, things and communication but also on policy and planning.

Lastly, in keeping with our conviction about the power of design, we believe that good design must not only work for as many potential users as possible but must also enhance everyone's experience.