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profoundly yours the abledbody blog

Earth Day isn’t just about planting a tree. It’s a chance to remind ourselves and others about our responsibility to care for the environment for the next generation. When we talk about “green design,” such as emissions-friendly buildings, homes and cars, we’re not just talking about looking cool or doing our part. We’re actually taking steps — through design — to make our planet more sustainable. Interestingly, there is a parallel between the “green design” of products for the environment, and the “universal design” of products to be used by people with disabilities. Universal design is a framework for the design of products to be usable by the widest range of people in the widest range of situations. This includes, of course, people with disabilities. Where the green design movement addresses our core responsibility to the environment, the universal design movement starts with a responsibility to the ... keep reading »
Some people have asked me to give them a better description of assistive technology. I often hestitate to answer without informing them that sometimes, assistive technology isn’t the answer to people with disabilities’ needs and that our society should be more focused on universal design, or at least accessible technology. Now you’re even more confused, right? Well, take a look at the picture of this Coke can. A blogger at Yanko Design created it to demonstrate how a braille-label maker might help people who are blind identify products such as soft drinks, money and spices. The Coke can is the product; the label represents the assistive technology, meaning something has been added to the product to make it useable by the person with a disability. However, if the Coke can was made accessible to the blind, it would have some braille built into the aluminum can. If we applied universal design principles, ... keep reading »
Today I had a column published in Media Post’s Marketing Daily, titled “A Costly Gamble”. I talk about how companies spend heavily on product development and marketing, but fail to consider people with disabilities who might use their products. Here’s an excerpt: “This oversight seems irresponsible: In the U.S., 54 million adults — or one in five Americans — have a physical or mental disability. People with disabilities have a combined income of more than a trillion dollars — and are willing to spend it on products and technologies that make their lives more productive. Brands that ignore the needs of this group relinquish an opportunity to reach this growing demographic. They also put their business at a higher risk for costly lawsuits, such as the $6 million in damages that Target paid in 2008 for failing to make some of its Web content accessible to blind people.” Please check it out ... keep reading »

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