Courtesy photo / IDeA Center

You might not have heard the term “universal design," but pass through a doorway, walk down a hall, or step into an elevator, and you're surrounded by it.

It's about making the world more accessible for people with disabilities (and everyone else), and a western New York organization has played a key role in spreading the principal.

The unemployment rate for people with disabilities is around 50 percent higher than that of people without. A program piloted by Syracuse University aimed to change that, by helping people with disabilities become entrepreneurs.

Case in point: Della Brown, who now owns and operates a taco shop in downtown Syracuse.

Image of a man in a wheelchair
Image courtesy Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access

I was at the University at Buffalo interviewing a gentleman for a completely unrelated story when I stumbled upon an idea. Actually, the IDeA.

Primer: IDeA = the Center for Inclusive Design and Environmental Access. 

Officially, they practice human centered design through research, development, service, dissemination and educational activities. Hmm. That's a little too official for me. 

Essentially, they want to make the world accessible for everyone. That's "universal" design.