Lumigrids, a Universal Design product, were invented for military use, but are perfect for way finding in the dark for people with low vision.

Universal Design or ADA?

The Difference between Universal Design and the ADA

Universal Design,  What is it?

Lumigrids, Universal Design grid light projection defines the surface ahead for safe passage

Universal design makes products, houses, buildings and spaces easier, safer and more user-friendly for the widest range of people.

Disability Smart Solutions consults with manufacturers and inventors of universal design products.  We often recommend universal design solutions in our ADA Accessibility Surveys and Compliance Reports.   Please contact us to  review your product.

Lumigrids are a great example of a product that solves a problem that young able-bodied people often don’t think about.  The small mounted grid light projects a path on the ground ahead showing the location of any uneven surfaces.  This example of a universal design tool shows a man riding a bicycle at night.  The light becomes an accessibility product when mounted to the front of a walker or wheelchair.  The grid can aid people with limited visibility or create a safe path to follow at night.  Inventions and ideas like this that might have initially been invented for military use, are part of Universal design.

SeeSaw bathtub
The Flume ‘See-saw’ Tub for the physically disabled. Designers: Kim Jung Su, Yoon Ji Soo, and Kim Dong Hwan.

Universal Design evolved from accessible design to address needs not covered by the ADA, American Disabilities Act.

Universal Design recognizes a wider spectrum of abilities, to create things that are easier for everyone to use.

Universal Design includes the full spectrum of human motion.


LED faucet
Sweet LED faucet lights for kitchen or bathroom Blue light changes red when water heats up


Universal Design applies to any product that ranging from appliances to cars, to door handles, to hair brushes, to smartphones.

Universal Design applies to any type of architecture, including homes, public and commercial buildings.

key turner
The Key Turner promotes better grip and turning leverage when using a key. Those with arthritis or carpal tunnel will find the key an extremely useful tool. The Key Turner’s handle has two large finger holes for increased maneuverability.

Universal Design for homes helps older adults with Aging In Place products and spaces that are easier and safer to use.

Universal Design for housing, provides accessible design standards that are not included in CODE. Universal Design can apply to the community at large through urban planning, public transit, and New Urbanism.

What is the difference between Universal Design and the Americans with Disabilities Act?

  • The ADA,  Americans with Disabilities Act is legislation.
  • The ADA includes the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, which are the minimum requirements for accessible buildings and facilities.
  • Universal Design is not a regulation.
  • The ADA focuses on protecting the civil rights of people with disabilities.
  • UDkitchen2
    Universal design kitchen for a wheelchair user. Elevating sink, dishwasher drawer, microwave drawer, easy reach electrical outlets and lowered surfaces.

    Universal Design suggests best design practices to  meet the needs of a wide range of people.

  • The ADA does not apply to single-family housing.


ELIO Illuma Grip LED Grab Bars
ELIO Illuma Grip LED Grab Bars
  • Universal Design for housing brings accessibility  features to single family homes and commercial buildings.

Please share your Universal Design products with us.

Universal Design consultations and product reviews are available by our accessibility experts.

Disability Smart Solutions is full-service ADA Consulting firm offering ADA Compliance Access Surveys, Project Consultation, Post-Compliance Audits, All-Ability Customer Service Training, Undercover Disabled Guest Mystery Shopping, Universal Design Product Review and Keynote Speaking.  Please contact us to review your accessibility needs.

  1. Inspect your building for ADA violations
  2. Recommend the changes that need to be made
  3. Recommend how to make the changes
  4. Review the completed changes to make sure that they are completed correctly
  5. Enhance the customer experience
  6. Train your key people
  7. Limit your exposure to ADA lawsuits