When we design for disability, we all benefit

By Elise Roy


“I believe that losing my hearing was one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received,” says Elise Roy. As a disability rights lawyer and design thinker, she knows that being Deaf gives her a unique way of experiencing and reframing the world — a perspective that could solve some of our largest problems. As she says: “When we design for disability first, you often stumble upon solutions that are better than those when we design for the norm.”


Elise Roy talks about the fact that designing our world based on the needs of disabled people ultimately helps raise up all people, not just the majority. She lists multiple examples of products designed for disabled people that became mainstream and preferred over previous versions. Even though her disability is different from my project focus, I believe that her imput is important in the ideas and thought processes going into designing for disabled persons. Yes, they may be a minority, but their experiences are so unique and valuable that we as designers can learn exponentially more from them than anyone else about how to be inclusive in any and all of our designs.


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