Design

Disability is an ever-present human condition, an integral part of the continuum of every individual’s life. Because everyone will be disabled at some point, disability is not a condition of a minority market (Davis 1995, 2002). Yet designing for disability is often regarded as a specialty area among architects or product designers, who often have to work within legal constraints, such as the building accessibility guidelines set forth in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), in order to accommodate the needs of disabled individuals. Prior to the ADA, the work of very few architects and designers considered sensory impairments or wheelchair access and maneuverability in interior spaces, much less in public ones. By failing to consider and integrate limited perceptual and mobility levels, their designs posed barriers to some users. These barriers, as well as social and economic attitudes and policies that ostracize and exclude, socially construct “disability.” In contrast, …

This essay may be found on page 59 of the printed volume.

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