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Curtin University

Universal Design

Universal Design principles can be applied to products and environments to meet the needs of potential users with a wide variety of characteristics and abilities.

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Curtin's Universal Design vision for 2030

Curtin aims to be the most accessible university campus in Australia by 2030. See for more information.

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What is Universal Design? Why is it important?

Universal design (UD) is the design of products and environments to be usable by all people to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design (Sheryl Burgstahler, University of Washington, Citing .

UD has been applied to education to provide an innovative and inclusive approach to meeting the needs of students with disabilities or medical conditions. UD improves access to all aspects of education, and reduces the need for students to seek individual study accommodations.

Curtin seeks to become a Centre for Excellence in Universal Design. The principles of universal design underpin Curtin's Disability Access and Inclusion Plan (DAIP) and staff development regarding disability issues.

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Universal Design Reference Group

Curtin's Universal Design Reference Group has members from a range of areas across the University, including Properties, Teaching and Assessment, Library services and Information Technology.

The objectives of the group are:

  • To develop and disseminate an accessible and comprehensible definition of universal design (UD)
  • To develop UD principles for a range of university functions and areas
  • To provide a reference point for the university community concerning UD
  • To support university working parties and projects that are addressing UD issues
  • To disseminate information on UD for use by the university community in a web format
  • Encourage, promote and disseminate research into UD
  • Encourage and promote undergraduate and postgraduate student research projects on topics related to UD through the provision of incentives and awards.


For more information, please contact:

Lynne Vautier     

Associate Director, Curtin Library

Phone: +61 8 9266 7163


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More information

  • Universal Design of instruction: definition, principles and examples (Sheryl Burgstahler, PhD)

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