Design with Disabilities in Mind

In researching a design project that was intended for someone who is blind I came across an early development of an app that would help a blind person find a place through their phone/audio with detailed accuracy for an easier way around local traveling.  

I feel that it doesn’t fully satisfy the identified need, that being making in-city traveling easier for the blind.  It’s hard to really deeply describe better solutions since I’m pretty ignorant in the difficulties blond civilians have, but I would think that there would need to be some type of secondary digital structure that maybe pairs with this app to fully connect the dots for efficient, easier, and helpful maneuvering of the city for people who are blind.  I don’t think that this app invention is trying to “fix the person” at all, I really do believe that the intent was to create a technological solution to a problem that has been around for decades for anyone with a visual disability.  

“Maayan Ziv founded the app, AccessNow, to create a more accessible world. As a person with muscular dystrophy, she knows the challenges many people encounter when trying to determine whether a building is physically accessible. AccessNow is an interactive crowdsourced map where people can pinpoint and rate the accessibility status of places around the world.” -

As for is this the best use of resources I feel that an app is a cheap and simply way for a company or organization to try and help someone with a disability get around the city better, but an app is already difficult for a blind person to navigate since screens tend to be flat already and a lot of a digital screen is visual indicators instead of vibrations or texture.  That’s why I feel like digital/physical structures that had braille and vibrations included into the directions at different locations would help someone who is visually impaired to find their way to their destination easier and safer.  In a TED talk that I watched called “When We Design For Disability, We All Benefit” by Elise Roy a huge point that she made was “we should design with disabilities in mind first, and the majority of people second” I was like, wow, this seems so obvious.  She later discusses how many popular designs that were created for people with disabilities were later popularized by the society as a whole just shows how designing with disabilities in mind helps everyone in the long run.  For this App and directions for the blind, I feel that the design team should reconsider a visual aid to be the first resource someone with blindness would consider first, and if they were blind what sort of resources would they enjoy having to use for inner-city travel such as physical monuments, audio that comes with a physical map that vibrates or moves with your fingers.. Design elements that incorporate sound, touch, and movement more, and less digital flat interfaces. 

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