Universal Design means the design of products, environments, programmes and services to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.

Established in the US (1997), seven principles aim to encourage self reliance, social empowerment and personal choice through designs that offered greater independence, safety and usability for all. Simple, intuitive, flexible designs, adaptable and replicable for persons of varying abilities and adequate space were key considerations. The broad spectrum of users it caters to include persons with disabilities, senior citizens, persons with reduced mobility and veterans among others.

Samarthyam promote and implement Universal Design principles in research projects, access audits, policy advocacy with focus on following:

  • Promotion of all such infrastructure, environment, products and services, which are user-centric; design that maximize independence; conserve energy; are safe; sustainable and affordable for the cross disability population and those at risk of disabilities.
  • To establish process, identify areas in the field of research, design, education, technology and policy that are in keeping with the national needs, importance and priorities

Universal Design India Principles ©: India Specific

universal design principles
Samarthyam is involved in developing universal design principles for India with eight other experts from the field of design and accessibility.

These principles have a vast scope of application ranging from product/industrial/communication design to built environments and human interfaces, from design education to policy making, from social to national integration. These principles will help us relook the Indian consumer (the common man) and determine through a series of investigations the choices one has to the choices one makes in one’s life in the given Indian context. These principles would help strategize design activity for the present and future populations of India as a step towards inclusion.

Universal Design is “Design for All”. However, it is also design for human diversity, equality and social inclusion. It applies to buildings, products, technology and transportation. Let’s make India Universally Accessible…adopt, promote and implement Universal Design India (UDI) Principles:

  • Equitable
  • Usable
  • Cultural
  • Economy
  • Aesthetics

Download : Universal Design India Principles © (pdf,128KB)


  • The UDI principles are stand alone universal design ideologies that focus in Indianness and inclusivity as they relate to age, gender, disability, caste, class, religion, poverty and urban/rural background.
  • UDI principles neither make any connection nor build on the 7 Universal Design Principles. They recognize the overarching importance of 7 Principles in the field of universal design.