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The untapped fortune:  Universal design in India and other majority world countries

Singanapalli Balaram

Professor, DJ Academy of design : India

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Many leading thinkers voiced that there is fortune at the bottom of the pyramid and that the most populated countries such as India and China are worlds focus markets. Universal design, even in business terms, is an aspect of design which expands customer base by including more people and enhances customer satisfaction by adding more meaning. Thus it is an apt tool in harnessing the fortune. Ironically, neither designers nor businessmen in the majority world have realised this profit aspect. They are looking at Universal design just as a social welfare activity. This perception needs to change urgently and UD in majority world must be seen as huge opportunity.
Majority world is tradition rich and there are many traditional practices which have universal design principles to inspire modern designers.
Above all, there is a value system followed in the past in these countries which lays emphasis on 'human being' who lived for 2million years than on the individual who is temporary. Such larger understanding is necessary if we were to change our attitude towards people with different abilities and for our integration and celebration of human diversities.

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