Yes, I’m blind. No, I don’t need help crossing the street.


I am sitting in the local Dunkin Donuts, working through a thesis reading, when the manager poses a question: “What happened to your eyes?” I’m legally blind, and it’s obvious. I squint at signs and lean into books. I look different, too, with a right eye blood-shot red with the remnants of a cyst removed in the sixth grade.

Universal Design (UD) is an approach to design that increases the potential for developing a better quality of life for a wide range of individuals. It is a design process that enables and empowers a diverse population by improving human performance, health and wellness, and social participation (Steinfeld and Maisel, 2012). It creates products, systems, and environments to be as usable as possible by as many people as possible regardless of age, ability or situation.