There are many inventions that were made for people with disabilities
and then became useful to a broader range of users. These include: the
telephone, automatic doors, books on tape and computer touch screens....things
we all use now for different purposes:
- automatic doors....when we have small children or groceries in hand
- books on tape....while driving on a long trip, or lying in bed at
- touch screens....for banking and catalog shopping at malls
- t.v. captions....at noisy bars or in a hotel with a sleeping child
When these tools are designed according to universal principles, they
become widely beneficial. Here are more things to think about.
Sidewalks with curb cuts are simply better sidewalks.*
Curb cuts are not just for people who use wheelchairs. They are also
a welcome relief to people with shoppng carts, strollers, bicycles,
and skateboards as well as to older folks whose knees cannot manage
the rise of a curb.
* Source: Cincinnati Enquirer, July
29, 2002 at http://enquirer.com/editions/2002/07/29/tem_curb_cuts_paved_way.html
When principles of universal design are ignored, however,
everyone suffers. For example, what are your experiences with the buttons
that you push at a street corner to get the "Walk" signal?
Consider the problems that Alan shows in this video, and ways the button
and signal could be improved for all of us.
Computers with accessibility features are simply better computers
After lobbying and pressure from many directions, computers
now come with built in accessibility features. Check out these features
and think how they might be useful to able-bodied users as well.
These are just a sampling of examples that show
the diversity of possible AT solutions. Come back to find more examples
as this web site grows.