Universal Design Methods

Welcome to the fascinating world of “Universal Design Methods”! In this article, we will travel through the universe of design and discover a precious collection of methods and techniques essential for solving complex problems. Whether you’re an experienced designer or a beginner looking for valuable guidance, these methods will help you approach projects with confidence and create innovative solutions that make a meaningful impact in users’ lives.

Whether you’re striving to better understand user needs, create engaging prototypes, or apply creative thinking to find innovative solutions, these universal methods are the key to success in any design project. In what follows, we will explore ten chapters, each representing a unique universe of knowledge and practical approaches. Let’s start this exciting journey through “Universal Design Methods” and discover together how to turn ideas into reality!


  1. Understand your users: Conduct extensive research to gain insight into your target audience’s needs, preferences, and weaknesses.
  2. Embrace iterative design: Refine and iterate your design through multiple cycles of feedback and testing to arrive at the best possible solutions.
  3. Use storytelling: Create engaging narratives around your design to communicate its value and create emotional connections with users.
  4. Consider accessibility: Make sure the design is inclusive and accessible to people with diverse abilities and needs.
  5. Focus on simplicity: Strive for a simple and clear design that is easy to understand and use.
  6. Use prototyping: Create prototypes to visualize and test ideas before deciding on the final design.
  7. Apply creative thinking (design thinking): Approach problems in a creative way, using design thinking methodology to find innovative solutions.
  8. Collaborate Effectively: Foster collaboration among team members to bring diverse perspectives and expertise to the design process.
  9. Test and validate: Periodically test the design with real users to validate assumptions and identify areas for improvement.
  10. Stay Current: Constantly learn about new design trends, tools and technologies to stay relevant in an ever-evolving field.

1: “Understanding Users – Discovering the Soul of Users.”

In the design process, a deep understanding of users is a key element for the success of a product or service. Getting to the heart of your users requires a constant effort to gain valuable insights so you can create solutions that truly meet their needs and wants.

  1. Empathetic Research: To truly understand your users, put yourself in their shoes. Take an empathetic approach and try to see the world through their eyes. Learn about their experiences and motivations so you can provide a personalized and appropriate solution.
  2. One-on-One Interviews: Conduct one-on-one interviews with your target users. Open-ended questions and careful listening will give you valuable insights. Try to discover their needs, problems and goals, but also what motivates and makes them happy.
  3. Observational Research: Observe users in real context of use. This type of research will help you identify non-verbal behaviors and needs and discover aspects that users are not aware of.
  4. Persona: Create personas that represent the types of users you have. These fictional characters, based on research data, will help you better focus on the needs of different user groups.
  5. Journey Mapping: Create customer journey maps to understand the paths and emotions of users during their interaction with your product or service. These maps will help you identify key moments and find opportunities for improvement.
  6. Usability Testing: Test the prototypes or early stage product with real users. Observe how they interact with the product and record their feedback. These tests will help you identify bugs and make adjustments for a better experience.
  7. Continuous Feedback: Be open and receptive to user feedback throughout the design process. Remember that design is an iterative process, and user feedback can point you in the right direction.
  8. Competition Analysis: Study the competition to understand what is working well for users and what could be improved. This type of research can give you a broader view of the market and inspire you to find better solutions.
  9. A/B Testing: Run A/B tests to evaluate multiple design variations and identify which version works best for users. This type of testing allows you to make informed decisions and optimize your design.
  10. Constantly Learn: Don’t stop at just one round of research. Understanding users is an ongoing process. Continue to learn and update your knowledge of users as their needs and context evolve.

Understanding users is the cornerstone of the design process and will help you create solutions that deliver real value and exceed user expectations. So invest time and effort in researching and deeply understanding the needs and wants of those you serve.

2: “Adopt Iterative Design – The Alchemy of Iterative Design”.

Iterative design is a creative approach in which the design process is not linear, but involves several iterations and refinements until the final solution is reached. This continuous process of adjustment and improvement is essential to achieve the best results and to develop products and services that are truly relevant and effective.

  1. Rapid Prototyping: Instead of going straight to the final design, start with rapid prototypes. This will allow you to test ideas in a fast and interactive way, allowing you to make adjustments at an early stage.
  2. Feedback and Learning: Ask for constant feedback from colleagues, customers or users. The more feedback you get, the better you can understand users’ needs and wants and make significant improvements.
  3. Data Driven Iteration: Use data from tests and feedback to guide future iterations. By making data-driven decisions, you can make more informed decisions and avoid incorrect assumptions.
  4. Design with the Team: Involve the entire team in the iterative design process. Feedback and multiple perspectives from peers can lead to innovative ideas and better solutions.
  5. Focus on the Users: In each iteration, ensure that the proposed solutions are aligned with the needs and expectations of the users. Keep your users at the center of your design efforts.
  6. Experiment and Take Risks: During the iterative process, don’t be afraid to experiment and take calculated risks. Trying new variations can bring you surprising ideas and innovative solutions.
  7. Learn from Failures: If an iteration doesn’t deliver the expected results, don’t consider it a total failure. Use it as an opportunity to learn and adjust your approach for the next iteration.
  8. Time and Resources: Allocating time and resources to multiple iterations may seem expensive, but investing in iterative design will lead to long-term savings by avoiding additional costs during product implementation or launch.
  9. Progress Measurement: Set goals and measure progress during each iteration. This will help you stay focused on the goal and monitor the progress of the project.
  10. Embrace Change: Iterative design assumes that you will make adjustments and changes along the way. Be open to change and flexible in your approach as this will allow you to achieve the best results.

Adopting iterative design will allow you to explore multiple approaches, find innovative solutions, and develop high-quality products and services. With each iteration, you’ll learn and improve your approach, leading to successful outcomes and satisfaction for both your users and your design team.

3: “Use Storytelling – The Hidden Story of Design.”

Storytelling in design is a powerful technique to communicate essential messages and values about a product or service. Storytelling transforms data and technical information into an engaging and emotional experience for users, creating a deep and memorable connection with your target audience.

  1. Identify Your Target Audience: Before you start storytelling, have a good understanding of your target audience and their needs. Make sure the story is tailored to the interests and aspirations of the audience.
  2. Build a Narrative Arc: An effective story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. Build a coherent narrative arc that presents a conflict, a resolution, and a transformation for the characters involved.
  3. Use Personas: Replace cold data with vivid and relevant personas. Create personas that represent your users or customers and whose experience shows how your solution helped them overcome challenges and achieve their goals.
  4. Build Emotions: Use strong emotions to engage and emotionally connect with your audience. Stories that generate empathy and inspire have a greater impact and stick with people in their memory.
  5. Tell the Benefits: In your story, emphasize how your product or service brings real benefits and solutions to your target audience. Show how it solves problems and improves users’ lives.
  6. Convey Values: Use storytelling to convey your brand values and culture. The story should be consistent with your identity and vision as a company.
  7. Use Images and Visuals: Combine the story with attractive and suggestive visuals. Photos, illustrations and animations can reinforce the message and add an engaging dimension to the story.
  8. Building Anticipation and Curiosity: Spread the story in a way that creates anticipation and curiosity. You can gradually reveal key story elements to keep the audience engaged and eager to learn more.
  9. Storytelling Across All Channels: Storytelling doesn’t have to be limited to just your website or marketing materials. Convey the story consistently across all communication channels, including social media, email campaigns and events.
  10. Authenticity: Make sure your story is authentic and based on truth. Transparency and authenticity create trust and will strengthen the relationship with the public.

Storytelling in design not only brings an emotional dimension to communicating with your audience, but also helps clarify the value and impact of your product or service. Make sure your story is well understood and reflected in every aspect of the user experience, providing thus a strong connection between users and your brand

4: “Consider Accessibility – Doors Open to All: Accessible Design.”

Accessible design is an essential approach to designing products and services to ensure they are usable and beneficial to all people, regardless of ability, age or diverse needs. Understanding and integrating accessibility concepts into design can significantly improve the user experience and benefit both people with and without special needs.

  1. Diverse Audience: Understand that users have diverse needs. Designed for a wide audience and taking into account various abilities, from people with visual or hearing impairments to those with motor or cognitive difficulties.
  2. Guidelines and Standards: Familiarize yourself with accessibility guidelines and standards, such as WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) or ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), to ensure that your design . respects the requirements and norms in the field.
  3. Text Contrast and Size: Make sure text and visuals have enough contrast to be easy to read for the visually impaired. Also, provide the ability to increase or decrease the text size for visually impaired users.
  4. Clear Navigation: Provide clear and consistent navigation so users can easily find their way around and quickly find the information they need.
  5. Media Alternatives: Provide media alternatives, such as image descriptions and video captions, to provide access to information for people who are hearing or visually impaired.
  6. Testing with Users of Different Abilities: Involve people with special needs in the testing and feedback process to ensure that your design is responsive and can be used effectively by all users.
  7. Assistive Technology: Make sure your design is compatible with assistive technologies, such as screen readers or voice control devices, to enable users with disabilities to access and use the product or the service.
  8. Forms and Interactions: Simplify forms and interactions to make them easy to fill out for differently abled users and reduce potential errors.
  9. Compatibility with Various Devices: Make sure your design works well on a variety of devices, from desktop computers to smartphones and tablets, to provide a smooth and consistent experience.
  10. Continuous Evolution and Improvement: Be open to feedback and continuous improvement to make your design more accessible as new technologies and new user requirements emerge.

Accessible design not only benefits people with special needs, but can also improve the overall experience for all users. By adopting inclusive design, you can create a more egalitarian environment and enjoy a wider and more loyal audience.

5: “Focus on Simplicity – The Art of Simplicity in Design.”

Simplicity is an essential design principle that consists in making products and services as easy as possible for users to understand and use. By removing unnecessary complexity and confusing elements, you can provide a more enjoyable and efficient experience for your target audience.

  1. Structure Clarity: Create a clear and intuitive structure for your product or service. Organize information and features in a logical way so users can quickly find what they are looking for.
  2. Limit Options: Too many options can confuse users and make their decision making difficult. Limit the number of options to a minimum to facilitate the decision-making process.
  3. Use Plain Language: Use simple and clear language when communicating with users. Avoid jargon and complex technical terms that may be difficult to understand.
  4. Minimalist Design: Adopt a minimalist design that emphasizes the essentials. Eliminate redundant or decorative elements that add no functional value.
  5. Continuous Improvement: Streamline design constantly based on user feedback. Observe user behavior and find ways to make processes and interactions more fluid and easier to understand.
  6. Item Prioritization: Determine which items are most important and prioritized for users and bring them to the fore. This will reduce confusion and direct attention to the key aspects.
  7. Usability Testing: Conduct usability testing to assess how easily users can use your product or service. Observe potential difficulties and make adjustments to improve the user experience.
  8. Simplified Workflows: Simplify workflows and processes so users can accomplish their tasks and goals in the most efficient way possible.
  9. Visual Feedback: Provide visual feedback to users during product interactions. This will help them better understand the consequences of their actions and quickly correct any mistakes.
  10. Real User Tests: Learn from real users by observing their behavior and listening to their feedback. Knowing their needs and preferences will guide you to a simple and effective design.

By focusing on simplicity, you will create products and services that will be easier for your target audience to understand, use and appreciate. A simple design provides a more pleasant and rewarding experience for users, which will contribute to their long-term loyalty and support.

6: “Build Bridges with Prototypes – Iterative Thinking for Innovative Solutions.”

Prototypes are powerful tools in the design process, allowing you to visualize and test ideas in an interactive and hands-on way. Prototyping bridges involves creating experimental models that bring concepts and ideas to life, facilitate testing, and guide subsequent design iterations.

  1. Conceptualize Ideas: Start brainstorming and create initial sketches and concepts. Prototypes can start from simple paper drawings or digital mockups to quickly visualize your ideas.
  2. Test Workflows: Build prototypes to test workflows and user experience. This will allow you to identify any navigation issues or points of frustration.
  3. High and Low Fidelity Prototypes: Depending on the stage of the project, use high fidelity (high detail) or low fidelity (low detail) prototypes. High-fidelity prototypes can provide a more realistic simulation of the final product, while low-fidelity prototypes are useful for testing concepts and workflows.
  4. Interactivity: Add interactivity to prototypes to simulate user interaction with your product or service. Use animations and interactive interfaces to make prototypes more alive and engaging.
  5. Usability Testing: Conduct usability testing with prototypes, asking for feedback from real users. This will help you identify issues and make adjustments before investing significant resources in final development.
  6. Iterate and Improve: Based on feedback from tests, iterate and improve prototypes. Repeat this cycle of testing and tuning to achieve an optimal user experience.
  7. Simulate Different Scenarios: Use prototypes to simulate various usage scenarios and contexts. This will help you anticipate user needs and add relevant features.
  8. Customer or Stakeholder Involvement: Involve customers or stakeholders in prototype development. This will help you get their feedback and input at an early stage, ensuring the solution is aligned with their expectations.
  9. Save Time and Resources: By building prototypes and testing concepts before final development, you save time and resources. Identifying problems in the early stages will allow you to make adjustments more easily and less expensively.
  10. Detailed Documentation: Ensure prototypes are accompanied by detailed documentation to clearly convey design intent and functionality to the development team.

Building bridges with prototypes is essential to turn ideas into reality and develop innovative solutions. Prototypes give you a platform to test and validate concepts, leading to a final design that is more robust and better suited to user needs.

7: “Cultivate Critical Thinking – Rigorous Design Evaluation.”

Critical thinking is an essential aspect of the design process, involving the rigorous evaluation of proposed decisions and solutions. Cultivating critical thinking will help you identify and solve potential problems, optimize design, and develop truly effective solutions.

  1. Define Clear Goals: Before starting the design process, set clear goals and success criteria. These objectives will give you a framework for evaluating the proposed solutions.
  2. Ask Why: Always ask “Why?” when making design decisions. This will help you understand the reasoning behind your choices and ensure that each element adds value to the project.
  3. Test Assumptions: Identify key design assumptions and test them to see if they are valid. Rely on data and feedback to validate or disprove these assumptions.
  4. Solicit External Feedback: Get feedback from peers, users, or other stakeholders outside the design team. Outside opinions can bring new perspectives and identify weaknesses or problems you may not have noticed.
  5. Use Data and Evidence: Rely on hard data and evidence in making design decisions. Data will help you make more informed decisions and avoid subjective assumptions.
  6. Anticipate User Needs: Think about potential user needs and behavior. Try to put yourself in their shoes and assess whether the proposed solutions will meet their needs in an effective way.
  7. Examination of Alternatives: Before choosing a solution, explore multiple alternatives and evaluate them against established goals and success criteria.
  8. Risk Assessment: Identify potential design risks and plan strategies to minimize them. Rigorous risk assessment will help you prepare for challenges that may arise during implementation.
  9. Continuous Maintenance and Improvement: Continue to evaluate and improve the design as you receive feedback and accumulate new data. Critical thinking does not end with the completion of the project, but must be an ongoing process.
  10. Accepting Failure as a Learning Opportunity: See failures as learning opportunities. Instead of getting discouraged, use negative feedback as a basis for improving your design and making more informed choices in the future.

Cultivating critical thinking in the design process will help you develop more effective and relevant solutions. By rigorously evaluating design, you’ll be able to anticipate problems, make more informed decisions, and create products or services that truly meet users’ needs.

8: “Build Collaboratively – The Power of Collaboration in Experience Design.”

Collaboration is a key element in designing successful experiences. Integrating and leveraging your team’s multiple knowledge, skills, and perspectives can help you develop solutions that are more innovative, diverse, and better suited to your users’ needs.

  1. Build a Diverse Team: Build a team with members from different fields and with varied experiences. Diversity brings different perspectives and stimulates creativity.
  2. Communicate and Listen: Make sure team members communicate openly and listen to each other’s ideas and feedback. Effective communication is essential for successful collaboration.
  3. Organize Brainstorming Sessions: Organize brainstorming sessions to generate new and innovative ideas. Encourage free and limitless thinking to explore various design directions.
  4. Share Knowledge: Encourage team members to share their knowledge and experiences. This will contribute to increasing the level of understanding and developing individual skills.
  5. Work on Prototypes as a Team: Involve team members in building prototypes and testing concepts. Collaboration on prototypes can lead to their improvement and the development of better solutions.
  6. Critical Evaluation of Ideas: Encourage critical evaluation of proposed ideas and solutions. Constructive feedback from colleagues can help refine concepts.
  7. Use Collaboration Tools: Use collaboration tools and platforms to work together regardless of geographic location. They will allow you to work in real time and share resources and documents.
  8. Establishing Common Goals: Make sure the entire team has common goals and a clear understanding of the direction of the project. This will ensure cohesion and alignment of efforts.
  9. Learn from each other: Promote continuous learning as a team. Encourage the sharing of findings, resources and effective working methods.
  10. Celebrate Successes Together: Recognize and celebrate team successes and achievements together. Value each member’s contribution and create a positive and motivating work environment.

Effective design collaboration can bring significant value to the project, providing better results and solutions better suited to users’ needs. By fostering collaboration and integrating diverse team skills, you’ll achieve innovative results and develop products or services that deliver an exceptional user experience.

9: “Be Open to Feedback – Continuous Learning from the Users’ Perspective.”

User feedback is a valuable source of information to understand how your target audience perceives and uses your product or service. By being open and receptive to feedback, you can continually improve your design and user experience, leading to a more successful product and more satisfying.

  1. Solicit Feedback During the Project: Don’t wait until the project is complete to get feedback. Seek feedback from the early stages to correct any errors or inappropriate approaches.
  2. Ensure Privacy: Create a safe and trusting environment where users feel comfortable giving honest feedback without fear of judgment.
  3. Use Various Feedback Methods: Encourage users to provide verbal, written, survey, or usability test feedback. Using multiple methods will give you a comprehensive perspective.
  4. Don’t Take Feedback Personal: Be open to receiving and understanding feedback, even if it may be negative or critical. Don’t take feedback personally, but use it as an opportunity to learn and improve.
  5. Prioritize Relevant Feedback: Not all suggestions or feedback are equally relevant or feasible. Prioritize feedback that adds value to the project and aligns with your goals
  6. Track User Trends and Behaviors: Observe user trends and behaviors while interacting with the product. This information will help you adapt the design accordingly.
  7. Use Feedback for Iterations: Use the feedback you receive to make adjustments and iterate on your design. Each iteration should bring the product closer to user requirements and expectations.
  8. Respect User Privacy: If feedback comes from individual users, be sure to maintain their privacy and not disclose personal data without their explicit consent.
  9. Share Improvements: Communicate with users about how their feedback led to improvements or changes in your product or service. This will show commitment to their experience and build loyalty.
  10. Feedback is Ongoing: Feedback doesn’t stop with product launch. Keep looking and getting feedback as the product evolves and adapts to user needs.

By being open to feedback and putting it into practice, you will build a product or service better suited to your target audience and develop a stronger relationship with your users. This continuous learning and improvement process will help you stay relevant and deliver a superior experience, which can lead to the long-term success of your product or service.

10: “Embrace Flexibility – Adapting to Change and Design Innovation.”

Flexibility is an essential attribute for any design project. Technology environments and user behaviors are constantly evolving, and the ability to adapt to change and innovate in design can help you stay relevant and meet ever-changing user needs.

  1. Be Open to Change: Be open to new ideas and changes in direction throughout the project. Sometimes changes bring improvements and better solutions than originally planned.
  2. Follow Design Trends: Stay up to date with design trends and innovations. Study and learn from industry best practices and success stories.
  3. Create Scalable Products: While focusing on current user needs, consider the future evolution of the product or service. Build scalable products that can grow and adapt to future requirements.
  4. Respond to Feedback Quickly: Assimilate user feedback and react quickly to their suggestions and needs. This will help you constantly improve the design and provide a better user experience.
  5. Tackling challenges with Innovation: See challenges as opportunities to innovate and find unique and creative solutions. Innovative thinking can help you overcome barriers and create unexpected solutions.
  6. Incorporate Feedback into Development Cycles: Integrating feedback into development cycles allows you to make adjustments and improvements at each stage.
  7. Track Product Performance: Monitor the performance of your product or service in real time and evaluate how it meets your needs and goals
  8. Be Prepared for Change: Be prepared to adapt to unexpected environmental changes or new requirements. Flexibility allows you to successfully meet unforeseen challenges.
  9. Encourage Creativity and Experimentation: Encourage the team to be creative and experiment with new ideas and approaches. This can help you discover innovative solutions and break out of conventional patterns.
  10. Be Continuously Learning: Design is never completely finished. Be in a constant search for knowledge and learning, and be willing to adapt and evolve with technologies and changes in the market.

By embracing flexibility in your design process, you will ensure that your product or service remains relevant and competitive in an ever-changing environment. Open-mindedness and adaptability will help you create exceptional user experiences and maintain your long-term commitment to users’ needs and wants.


By applying these tips, designers can develop products and services that meet user needs and provide an exceptional experience. Knowing different methods and techniques helps them better understand their target audience, create innovative solutions and overcome challenges during the design process.

Teamwork, listening and applying user feedback, adaptability and innovative thinking are essential aspects of successful design. The design process is never completely finished, but involves continuous learning and an openness to constant improvement.

Ultimately, using these universal design methods can lead to better products and services that provide a pleasant and useful user experience, thus strengthening success and relevance in the market. Effective and innovative design can help improve people’s lives and benefit both users and the companies or organizations that develop them.

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