News and Events

“Accessible Design Integration” presentation by Marthalee Galeota

Three young architects working on a project at a table in the study

Updated 2/1/17.

The Northwest Universal Design Council (NWUDC) and community partners invite you to attend a special presentation by Marthalee Galeota, access and disability program manager for the Starbucks Coffee Company, on Thursday, February 9, 2017. The presentation will be held in conjunction with an exhibit called “Open to All: Designing for the Full Range of Human Experience” at the Center for Architecture & Design, operated by the Seattle chapter of the American Institute of Architects (Seattle AIA).

Small image of event flyer. Click on the flyer to open an accessible PDF flyer.

Ms. Galeota leads Starbucks’ disability initiatives and strategic planning, collaborates and advises business units on universal design and access, manages interpreter services, and designs and creates training programs on disability and access. She is nationally certified as an American Sign Language interpreter with specialist skills in Braille and tactile interpreting. She serves on the boards of the Northwest ADA Center and Washington Governor’s Disability Employment Task Force.

Galeota served on the team that planned the “Open to All” exhibit, which demonstrates why designers must move beyond the “one size fits all” approach. Universal Design—as promoted by the NWUDC—is design for all ages, all abilities, all the time.

“When the principles of Universal Design are considered, early and often, you don’t see it, it’s just better design,” says Tom Minty, a founding NWUDC member and member of the Seattle-King County Advisory Council on Aging & Disability Services. “Equity, flexibility, simplicity, ease of use—when architects, designers, and builders consider Universal Design principles early and often, everyone benefits. The principles were developed with the built environment and ‘visitability’ in mind but the same can be said for any kind of design process.”

The NWUDC event is scheduled Thursday, February 9, 2017 from 9:30–11:30 a.m. at the Center for Architecture & Design (1010 Western Avenue, Seattle). The formal program starts at 10 a.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Persons attending NWUDC events are requested to refrain from using perfume, cologne, and other fragrances for the comfort of other participants.

Accommodations: ASL interpretation, CART captioning, a counter loop for close-range T-coil reception, and personal amplification devices will be provided. If you need another accommodation in order to participate, need materials in an alternate format, or have accessibility questions, e-mail NWUDC coordinator Irene Stewart at at your earliest opportunity.

RSVP: Pre-registration is appreciated. Please visit or e-mail

The 7 Principles of Universal Design

The principles of Universal Design were developed by a group of architects, product designers, engineers, and environmental design researchers in 1997. For guidelines, click here.

  1. Equitable Use—The design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities.
  2. Flexibility in Use—The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities.
  3. Simple and Intuitive Use—Use of the design is easy to understand, regardless of the user’s experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level.
  4. Perceptible Information—The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user’s sensory abilities.
  5. Tolerance for Error—The design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions.
  6. Low Physical Effort—The design can be used efficiently and comfortably and with a minimum of fatigue.
  7. Size and Space for Approach and Use—Appropriate size and space is provided for approach, reach, manipulation, and use, regardless of the user’s body size, posture, or mobility.