Shifting Paradigms in Universal Design

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The theory and practice of Universal Design have evolved over the last twenty years. Based on a review of relevant publications in design, ergonomics and Human-Computer Interaction, the author summaries the evolution in terms of two shifting paradigms: one is from the separation of the ’Assistive Technology Approach’ (top-down) and the ’Idealistic Universal Design Approach’ (bottom-up) to the integration of the two approaches; the other is from adopting discipline-specific research approaches to collaboration in multidisciplinary research teams. Because of the close relationship between Universal Design and Human Factors and Ergonomics, the challenges of future development of Universal Design are also discussed with regard to the revolution and shifting paradigms in Human Factors and Ergonomics.