Design : Thinking for Disability

This fantastic Tedx talk outlines the 5 Steps for Design Thinking:

  1. Define the problem and understand its constraints.
  2. Observe people in real-life situations and empathize with them.
  3. Throw out hundreds of ideas — the more the better, the wilder the better.
  4. Prototype–gather whatever you can, whatever you can find, to mimic your solution, to test it and to refine it.
  5. Implementation–ensure that the solution you came up with is sustainable.

Love these quotes from the talk, detailing the importance of designing for disability and the ripple effect of that mindset:

What if we changed our mindset? What if we started designing for disability first — not the norm? As you see, when we design for disability first, we often stumble upon solutions that are not only inclusive, but also are often better than when we design for the norm.

This description of how people with disabilities are natural problem solvers is fantastic; I’ve experienced the same thing about myself:

I also believe that people with disabilities have great potential to be designers within this design-thinking process. Without knowing it, from a very early age, I’ve been a design thinker, fine-tuning my skills. Design thinkers are, by nature, problem solvers.