Friday, October 31, 2008

Designers challenged to include disabled

Challenge to design with disabled people in mind ...

"The future of design could see the divide between able-bodied and disabled people vanish.

Don Norman , design Professor at Northwestern University in Illinois, and the author of ''The Design of Future Things,'' is issuing a challenge to designers and engineers across the world: Create things that work for everyone.

"It is about time we designed things that can be used by ALL people -- which is the notion behind accessible design. Designing for people with disabilities almost always leads to products that work better for everyone."

Once the champion of human-centered design -- where wants and needs of individuals are the primary consideration in the design process, Norman now believes accessible activity-centered design is a better approach.

This approach creates designs by looking at the job a person needs to achieve in using a particular technology.

Norman told CNN that including disabled people in this thought process would create better technologies for all people, regardless of their level of ability.

"Make cans and bottles that a one-handed person can open and guess what, many people will find it makes their lives easier when they only have one free hand.

"Showers and baths can be made better and safer for all. Make things better for the hard of hearing or seeing and guess what, similar benefits for all," he said.

And technology like this is already being developed.

Korean designers Changduk Kim and Youngki Hong have come up with the "Universal Toilet," an invention that could end the need for separate able-bodied and disabled toilets.

Tell us your ideas for machines or objects that could be adapted to suit disabled and able-bodied people.

Despite such innovation, Norman said there would still need to be a shift in the mindset of many major companies."    (Continued via CNN.com, Mike Steere, putting people first)    [Usability Resources]

 - Usability, User Interface Design

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