Rob VanVarick, Principal of Design, Insights and Strategy at MGA&D will give a talk at the UDNYC conference on the unacknowledged 8th principal of Universal Design as it applies to products for aging and/or disabled consumers.

“While the 7 principles of UD do not claim to be all encompassing, we believe there is a fundamental principle missing. Our firm has used design to make emotional connections with consumers and these connections have led to the creation of cultural movements – from a more humanistic design approach in architecture and product design, to the democratization of design for all people, to a passionate advocacy for better designed buildings and products for the older adult and disabled population. Emotional connections fueled by aesthetics are powerful. A design that follows the 7 UD principles, but where appearance is secondary, leads to limited consumer demand,” says VanVarick. “Thus, Aspiration is the 8th principle that we champion in our designs for aging and disabled consumers.”

Aspiration fuels demand and leads to 1) greater adoption in a category where stigma holds consumers back and 2) transcends to able bodied consumers who appreciate beautiful, highly functional objects and spaces that add value to their lives. VanVarick’s presentation will use case studies to express this viewpoint.