Accessibility + Innovation = Universal Design


Written by Kedma Ough

Kedma is founder of AVITA and executive director of MIPO, a non-profit organization that provides inventor resources, advising, training and funding.

Accessibility will play a significant role in the development of innovative technology in the next decade.

According to the most recent census report more than 55 million or nearly 18 percent of the total population is disabled. In addition, they make up a significant market of consumers, representing more than $200 billion in discretionary spending spurring technological innovation and entrepreneurship advancements.

There is a significant interception in thinking about problems and issues of physical change and designing tools to address those issues and improvise for inclusiveness. For example, one of the most significant benefits the iPad has had is its effect on children developing speaking skills with considerable results according to a report conducted through Autism Speaks.

Start Up Weekend Access allows for universal design to be introduced into the product and service equation at the conception stage. The idea behind the universal design is innovators and entrepreneurs design products, environments, and businesses to be usable by everyone without the need for adaptation or specialized design.

North Carolina State University Center for Universal Design developed seven key guidelines for inclusive technology considerations:

1. The concept and design is useful and marketable to people with
diverse abilities.
2. The design accommodates a wide range of abilities and preferences.
3. The use of the products is easy to comprehend regardless of a
user’s experience, knowledge, or language skills.
4. The design communicates information effectively to the end user
regardless of their sensory abilities.
5. The design minimizes adverse consequences of accidental or
unintended action.
6. The design can be used efficiently and comfortably with minimum
7. Appropriate size and space is provided for approach, reach,
manipulation, and use regardless of user’s body size, posture, or

Start up Weekend Access is a community model for universal access and AVITA is proud to be a gold sponsor in this forward thinking event that fosters conversations and creations on products and services that are inclusive in meeting the demands of a global population with diverse abilities.

As a national speaker and business advisor, Ough has been paving the way for individuals with disabilities to pursue entrepreneurship. Ough provides insight into product and service development utilizing universal design principles and methodologies. Connect with Kedma Ough on Twitter @KedmaOugh or visit