Response on Design Meets Disability

In the reading, we see that the application of design for disability in the past had a more focus on being invisible. The concept of fashion has just started to appear in the recent decades on these untouched fields. However, it was fascinating to find out the progression of how glasses turned into a wearable from usable and people who wear glasses as wearer rather than patient. The author mentions in the reading that for an eyewear, “the words design and disability are mentioned in the same breath … the exemplar of a product that addresses a disability, yet with little or no social stigma attached” (15). The integration of design in these tools for disability has made the them into items of fashion – where now people use glasses as a fashion item to define themselves. Also, it was interesting to see how, after eliminating the stigma behind glasses, our society presents the old ugly criticized model as vintage and people go crazy for these glasses – once the stigma was removed, the old designs for disability were re-visited.

Good design often requires the courage to value simplicity over being “all things to all people” (85)

The author of this article tries to refute the concept of how products should be designed for everyone. The example of Leckey’s product showed a clear reason to how the attempt to fit everything in the design to satiate everyone can actually be detrimental to the original targeted group – especially in Leckey’s case of designing for disability. The author points out that “too much adjustability and modularity can result in a design that is visually complex … the equipment itself stigmatizes the kids among their new peers.” (76), which shows that it is “better to deny the user a feature that could have been useful, in favor of a better overall experience” (86).

The main comparison that popped in my head was the difference between the user interface of an iPhone and a Galaxy Series Phone. The number of functionalities in the galaxy phones win without doubt compared to the iPhone – but does everyone use the Galaxy Series? The answer would be no since most people would raise their hands for the iPhone due to its simplicity in UI, smoother UX, and lower learning curve – thus boosting the overall experience compared to the galaxy series..

Keeping the simplicity while maintaining the level of overall experience is a difficult task. And, it brings up the need for consistent communication between the users and the designers in order to attain this simplicity. As interactive media students, it is crucial for us to value simplicity to fit the target persona over use-for-everyone with chaotic functionalities. The “more” is not always good.

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