Universal design is an approach to the development of products and environments that can be used effectively by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design. It seeks to support usability for the greatest number of people, including a wide spectrum of age groups and abilities. It is response to cultural diversity and current demographic shifts. Postwar Baby Boomers, the largest segment of today's consumer population, are beginning to anticipate and experience the effects of aging. Universally designed products and environments offer greater safety and increased comfort. They are easy to operate and flexible to meet the needs of different people.
We have amassed a collection of over 200 products through our gallery installations of the Unlimited by Design exhibition and a traveling exhibit called "live | work | eat | play." This is a digital archive of these installations that provide access worldwide for scholars and educators. It also ensures historical documentation of the products. This collection will continue to grow through the continuing activities of the IDEA Center.