Universal Design (UD) means “design for all”. It aims to create an environment which will address the needs of as many people as possible, regardless of their abilities and age. Consequently UD takes into consideration the physical, social and psychological needs of all possible users. On the other hand, Barrier-Free Accessibility (BFA) evaluates the physical accessibility of the built environment and adopts measures to reduce physical barriers for these people. BFA is hence a “sub-set” of UD.
Some examples of BFA features are ramps and handicapped toilets. But UD goes beyond BFA and includes such features like the provision of nursing rooms, smaller sized toilet facilities for children, ergonomic features such as rounded edges, etc. UD hence caters to the needs of a wider spectrum of users.