Enter the maze

Design for All (and by All!)

Crossed hands in a Lightbeam

Making things work for everyone

Designing for the disabled - that must be a niche market mustn't it? Actually no. One in five people have a disability of some kind! More surprising still, the disabled have been the inspiration behind some of the biggest companies in the world. Some of the ideas out there might eventually give us all super powers.

Just because people have disabilities doesn't mean they can't be the designers, the innovators themselves of course. Some of the most innovative people out there were once labelled 'disabled'. Just because you are different doesn't mean you aren't able!

Where do innovators get their ideas from? Often they come from people driven to support people currently disadvantaged in society. The resulting technologies then not only help those with disabilities but become the everyday objects we all rely on. A classic example is the idea of reducing the kerbs on pavements to make it possible for people in wheelchairs to get around. Turns out of course that they also help people with pushchairs, bikes, roller-blades and more. That's not just a one-off example, some of the most famous inventors and biggest companies in the world have their roots in 'design for all'.

Designing for more extreme situations pushes designers into thinking creatively, thinking out of the box. That's when totally new solutions turn up. Designing for everyone is just a good idea!


Wanting to scream and scream and scream

Hands reaching out for a scared woman: copyright www.istockphoto.com 44661334 Designing for people with autism

Blind driver filches funky feely sound machine!

A Blue SoundWave: Copyright www.istockphoto.com  26316636 Haptic Wave: Touchning sound waves

Dreams, sticky tape and pass me a soldering iron!

Touching a sound wave: copyright www.istockphoto.com 61740466 Haptic Wave: How it ws designed


A paper chain of people with a wheelchair out front Help us all

Locked-in Syndrome

Playing a game on the prototype system Locked into 20 Questions

Brain-computer Interfaces

Girl's eye concentrating Competitive Zen