Tracking steps is nice, but helping people with disabilities navigate their worlds with ease and confidence is nicer. Alanna Kaivalya, 33, calls herself “the bionic woman.” The PhD student and yoga teacher trainer in New York can answer a phone with her watch, mute a noisy subway ride through an app on her phone and stream music directly into her ears – no cord necessary.
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.