New developments in accessible technology have made it easier than ever for the visually-impaired to connect. Gus Chalkias challenges me to spell my name. Chalkias, who lost his vision at age 28 and now runs the demo center at the Computer Center for Visually Impaired People at Baruch College in midtown Manhattan, hands me an iPhone with a darkened screen. I’ll have to do it by touch and by physical memory of the letters’ location.
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.