[nabs-l] Universal Design

Brittney Urquhart brittney.urquhart at gmail.com
Tue Aug 17 04:41:44 UTC 2010


Hello Joe and List,

The notion of universal design is not specifically targeted for persons 
with disabilities, but at society as a whole. The purpose of universal 
design is to make as many products, services, and environments 
accessible to as many people as possible.

For example, if the notion of universal design is used in the 
construction of a building, a ramp would be implemented not only for 
wheelchair users, but also for the little old lady that just had a hip 
replacement. All bathroom stalls would be the size of accessible ones, 
not just for the person using a walker, but for the mother with three 
kids and a stroller who doesn’t want to leave her kids unattended while 
one has to use the restroom.

The Apple iPhone and iPod Touch are the most perfect examples of the 
notion of universal design. Just by Apple including Voiceover, screen 
magnification, and other accessibility features on these devices they 
have created a product that is accessible to people with and with out 
disabilities. Due to the universal design of this product, my sighted 
mother and I were able to walk in the same AT&T store and purchase the 
same phone without me having to buy additional products to be able to 
use it. If more devices were created with the notion of universal design 
anyone, disabled or not, could walk in a store and buy a product and be 
able to use it.

Brittney




Joe Orozco wrote:
> Hi Marc,
>
> You pose an interesting notion.  I don't know where I sit on aspects of
> universal design like audible traffic signals.  I myself have not found them
> exceptionally useful, but nor did I find the NFB's active protest in
> Portland eight or nine years ago all that necessary either.  I am of the
> opinion that people have a choice to use or not use available resources.
>
> My fear with this is not so much the scope to all persons as much as the
> availability.  I believe the NFB follows a methodology to help persons to
> adopt to their environment no matter where they might find themselves,
> whether they should venture into a different city or a different country.
> Universal design seems like a daunting endeavor that would require a change
> in the way we think fundamentally, not just the way we perceive individual
> tasks.  I don't know that I disagree with the notion of universal design
> exactly.  I just question the feasibility, and again I am concerned with the
> immediacy of training all blind individuals regardless of skill level to
> confront and successfully maneuver their environment.
>
> This reminds me of an article a group of us debated once about an apartment
> complex designed specifically for persons with disabilities complete with
> textured walls, hand rails and all manner of amenities.  To some this home
> appeared to be the ideal setting, but as you may have guessed, I was
> vehemently opposed to it for the false sense of confidence it established
> and the bubble-like environment it promoted.  I may be missing this concept
> of universal design altogether, but I genuinely believe it would be
> difficult to make people with disabilities catch up to the rest of society
> by creating certain standardized norms.  There is too much of a gap, and in
> the meantime more people fall through the cracks.
>
> Still, the notion is an interesting one, and I'll admit to feeling curious
> about its consequences.
>
> Best,
>
> Joe
>
> "Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves,
> some turn up their noses, and some don't turn up at all."--Sam Ewing 
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: nabs-l-bounces at nfbnet.org 
> [mailto:nabs-l-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Marc Workman
> Sent: Saturday, August 14, 2010 7:34 PM
> To: National Association of Blind Students mailing list
> Subject: Re: [nabs-l] Blind man sues Wienerschnitzel over 
> run-in with tree
>
> Jedi,
>
> I prefaced my comment by saying that it was not directed at 
> you.  I wasn't 
> objecting to what you said so much as the idea contained in the 
> couple of 
> sentences I quoted from you, and idea that was contained within 
> the comments 
> of many others.
>
> Regarding what you say about universal design, that the NFB is "about 
> creating a universal design that honors the capacities of blind 
> people while 
> meeting our accessibility needs rather than creating a design 
> that assumes 
> that we have more needs than we really do", this strikes me as 
> a problematic 
> way of understanding universal design.  The question I would ask is: 
> capacities and needs of which blind people?
>
> The problem is that blind people, like all people, have a 
> tremendous amount 
> of variation in the capacities they possess.  A blind person that is 
> otherwise able-bodied, who has been blind for a long period of 
> time, who has 
> received a lot of training, who is intelligent, confident, and so on is 
> going to have a different set of capacities than the person who 
> is newly 
> blind, has had little training, has mobility difficulties, and 
> is hard of 
> hearing on top of it, and considering how many lose their 
> vision in old age, 
> don't think this picture is that out of the ordinary.
>
> So, who do we look at when we are fighting for universal design 
> that honours 
> the capacities of blind people without exaggerating their 
> needs? Do we look 
> at the capacities of the members of this list, or do we look at the 
> capacities of blind seniors?
>
> The problem I see with your understanding of universal design 
> is that it 
> isn't really universal.  For it to be universal, you can't limit its 
> application to a group of people that possess a certain set of 
> capacities 
> and needs.
>
> Responding to Joe who asked for more specifics on universal design, I 
> understand it as a guiding principle, and ideal towards which 
> we struggle 
> without actually attaining it, something like equality, 
> freedom, or justice. 
> Basically, as I stated, you design institutions, products, processes, 
> services and so on so that they are as accessible as possible to the 
> greatest number of people with the greatest variation in 
> abilities.  One 
> slightly more concrete way of thinking about this is that it involves 
> providing access to information in multiple ways.  So at a controlled 
> intersection, the changing of the light is information that is only 
> presented visually.  Universal design would promote the inclusion of an 
> audible and even a tactile signal that conveys the visual 
> information in 
> alternative ways.  We obviously will never make everything completely 
> accessible to everyone, but that is what makes it an ideal.  
> It's something 
> towards which we ought to strive.
>
> When things are universally designed, they include features 
> that many many 
> people will not actually make use of.  A large number of blind 
> people may 
> not need an audible signal, but some of course will, at the 
> very least, find 
> one very useful.  And the concern seems to be that people will 
> assume that 
> because some blind people have difficulty getting around 
> without adapting 
> the environment somewhat, then all blind people must need these 
> adaptations, 
> and then this leads to negative attitudes, discrimination, 
> unemployment and 
> so on.  For my objections to this line of argument, see my last post.
>
> In closing, I want to leave you with a quote from Jacobus 
> tenBroek, a fellow 
> Albertan I might add.  It suggests to me that tenBroek would 
> support the 
> fight against unnecessary obsticles that prevent us from 
> travelling in the 
> manner in which we choose, including the issue that sparked 
> this debate.  I 
> also think it's a nod towards universal design, the kind that's 
> actually 
> universal.
>
> tenBroek writes: "No courts have held or even darkly hinted 
> that a blind man 
> may rise in the morning, help get the children off to school, 
> bid his wife 
> goodbye,and proceed along the streets and bus lines to his daily work, 
> without dog, cane, or guide, if such is his habit or 
> preference, now and 
> then brushing a tree or kicking a curb,but, notwithstanding, 
> proceeding with 
> firm step and sure air, knowing that he is part of the public 
> for whom the 
> streets are built and maintained in reasonable safety, by the 
> help of his 
> taxes, and that he shares with others this part of the world in 
> which he, 
> too,has a right to live" (1966, 867-68).
>
> tenBroek, Jacobus. 1966. The right to live in the world: The 
> disabled in the 
> law of torts.California Law Review 54: 841-919.
>
> Best,
>
> Marc
> ----- Original Message ----- 
> From: "Jedi" <loneblindjedi at samobile.net>
> To: <nabs-l at nfbnet.org>
> Sent: Saturday, August 14, 2010 4:04 PM
> Subject: Re: [nabs-l] Blind man sues Wienerschnitzel over 
> run-in with tree
>
>
>   
>> Marc,
>>
>> I feel that my comments were taken out of context somewhat. I 
>>     
> was trying 
>   
>> to give both sides of the issue a fair hearing. It's true 
>>     
> that bringing 
>   
>> attention to the incident in the way it's being done might in fact 
>> solidify negative perceptions of blindness; anyone who has 
>>     
> been blind a 
>   
>> while shouldn't miss that possibility unless they've been 
>>     
> hiding under a 
>   
>> rock a while. Whether we like it or not, the public tends to view us 
>> through their own speculations of what their lives might be 
>>     
> like if they 
>   
>> were blinded immediately without realizing that they have 
>>     
> considerable 
>   
>> gaps in knowledge regarding blindness. What I also said is 
>>     
> that the tree 
>   
>> could have served as a legitimate obstacle for this 
>>     
> particular blind man. 
>   
>> Though I didn't say it directly, what I meant is that perhaps 
>>     
> he does have 
>   
>> a cause to seek remedy even if a lawsuit may not be the best 
>>     
> way to handle 
>   
>> things. In my opinion, this incident is much like the woman 
>>     
> who spilled 
>   
>> hot coffee in her lap and sued McDonnald's.
>>
>> Maybe I'm wrong, but what I hear you saying is that NFB 
>>     
> philosophy (or at 
>   
>> least your understanding of it) seems to be out of sync with 
>>     
> universal 
>   
>> design principles for the reason of not wanting blind people to look 
>> incompetent. I don't think this is the case. I think the NFB 
>>     
> does support 
>   
>> (and fights for) universal design, but we're also about creating a 
>> universal design that honors the capacities of blind people 
>>     
> while meeting 
>   
>> our accessibility needs rather than creating a design that 
>>     
> assumes that we 
>   
>> have more needs than we really do. Does that make sense?
>>
>> Respectfully,
>> Jedi
>>
>>
>> Original message:
>>     
>>> I'm not very surprised, but nevertheless still disturbed, by 
>>>       
> a majority 
>   
>>> of
>>> the responses to this article.  Based on one reporters 
>>>       
> account of this
>   
>>> story, we have rediculous proposals insisting that blind 
>>>       
> people ought to
>   
>>> walk around holding one arm in the air, we have unjustified 
>>>       
> claims about 
>   
>>> how
>>> fast the person must have been walking, we have unfounded 
>>>       
> assumptions 
>   
>>> about
>>> what this person may have tried to do before escalating to a 
>>>       
> law suit, 
>   
>>> and
>>> we have highly speculative claims about how this one 
>>>       
> incident is going to
>   
>>> set every confident, independent blind person back 20 years.
>>>       
>>> Jedi wrote the following, and this is not directed at Jedi; 
>>>       
> she only said
>   
>>> first, and with brevity and clarity, what many others said 
>>>       
> afterwards.
>   
>>> However, suing could set a bad precedent as it > would 
>>>       
> reaify the notion
>   
>>> that obstacles of any kind are hazardous to > blind people 
>>>       
> because we are
>   
>>> blind; the public may take this incident > and generalize it to all
>>> obstacles whether they're really an > inconvenience to 
>>>       
> one/all of us or 
>   
>>> not.
>>>       
>>> I would raise three objections to this line of thinking.  
>>>       
> None of them 
>   
>>> are
>>> devastating, but, taken together, I think there is good 
>>>       
> reason to not be
>   
>>> completely convinced that people who fight these sorts of 
>>>       
> battles are 
>   
>>> doing
>>> us all harm.
>>>       
>>> 1. We shouldn't be so quick to think that we can predict how any one
>>> individual, let alone the so called public, is going to 
>>>       
> react to these 
>   
>>> sorts
>>> of stories.  Someone reading the story might respond more to 
>>>       
> the fact 
>   
>>> that
>>> the person was travelling in the community independently, 
>>>       
> she might focus 
>   
>>> on
>>> the person's willingness to stand up for what he believes, she might 
>>> begin
>>> to think about her own front yard tree with its low hanging 
>>>       
> branches, or
>   
>>> most likely in my opinion, she won't think twice about it, 
>>>       
> assuming she
>   
>>> reads it at all.  The point is that there is a lot of speculation 
>>> involved
>>> here, and we should be cautious in the face of so much speculation.
>>>       
>>> 2. Let's say, for the sake of argument, that there is this 
>>>       
> thing called 
>   
>>> the
>>> public, and the public generalizes from the experience of 
>>>       
> one person and
>   
>>> applies it to all of us blind people.  The public believes 
>>>       
> that we all 
>   
>>> need
>>> help getting around all these obsticles, and eventually this leads to
>>> discrimination and unemployment.  Should we base our 
>>>       
> positions on what we
>   
>>> judge to be right, or should we base them on how the public 
>>>       
> will react to
>   
>>> them? Probably the response will be to say that we should base our 
>>> positions
>>> on both what we think is right and how the public will 
>>>       
> react.  Fine, I'm 
>   
>>> not
>>> saying we should ignore public reaction, but in the face of so much
>>> speculation, see objection 1, where public reaction is highly 
>>> unpredictable,
>>> it should play only a very minor role in deciding what sort 
>>>       
> of activities 
>   
>>> we
>>> should engage in.
>>>       
>>> 3. Even if the public does develop negative misconceptions 
>>>       
> based on these
>   
>>> sorts of stories, this doesn't mean that people can't be 
>>>       
> educated.  Why
>   
>>> couldn't it be the case that by fighting to remove these 
>>>       
> barriers, we 
>   
>>> suffer
>>> a short-term increase in negative conceptions for a decrease of such
>>> conceptions in the long term? Get blind people out in the 
>>>       
> community, and
>   
>>> that's how you will change attitudes.  The more people that 
>>>       
> feel they can
>   
>>> comfortably and independently travel throughout the 
>>>       
> community, without
>   
>>> having first spent 8 months intensively studying the latest
>>> hand-in-front-of-face technique for detecting over-hanging 
>>>       
> obsticles, the
>   
>>> more people you will have out in the community, the more 
>>>       
> relationships 
>   
>>> will
>>> be developed, and the more likely you are to change attitudes.
>>>       
>>> Many of the comments thus far in this thread illustrate two 
>>>       
> of the most
>   
>>> fundamental ways in which I think NFB policies are 
>>>       
> misguided.  First, the
>   
>>> failure to promote universal design.  Universal design means creating
>>> institutions, products, processes, services, and so on that are as
>>> accessible as possible to the widest number of people, 
>>>       
> without the user
>   
>>> having to possess special equipment or training.  If 
>>>       
> environment A is 
>   
>>> only
>>> navigable by some blind person who has been blind for ten 
>>>       
> years, who has 
>   
>>> had
>>> training at an NFB Center, and who has no other disabling physical
>>> variations, and environment B is navigable by someone 
>>>       
> recently blind, 
>   
>>> with
>>> little training, and with a bad hip, then we should adopt 
>>>       
> stances towards
>   
>>> design that bring us closer to environment B.  It might be 
>>>       
> true that, at
>   
>>> first, taking these positions causes that foolish public to 
>>>       
> believe that
>   
>>> blindness equals incompetence, but this leads me to my 
>>>       
> second concern 
>   
>>> with
>>> NFB policy: there is far too much concern with the variety 
>>>       
> of ways that 
>   
>>> the
>>> public might think less of us.  Of course public perceptions 
>>>       
> matter, but
>   
>>> they are highly unpredictable, changeable over time, and 
>>>       
> should not make 
>   
>>> us
>>> afraid to fight for what is right.
>>>       
>>> I've been preaching this sort of attitude for a while now, 
>>>       
> and I don't
>   
>>> really expect to change anyone's mind, but there is another 
>>>       
> perspective 
>   
>>> to
>>> this story that hasn't been aired fully.
>>>       
>>> Best,
>>>       
>>> Marc
>>>       
>>> ----- Original Message -----
>>> From: "Jedi" <loneblindjedi at samobile.net>
>>> To: <nabs-l at nfbnet.org>
>>> Sent: Friday, August 13, 2010 7:30 PM
>>> Subject: Re: [nabs-l] Blind man sues Wienerschnitzel over 
>>>       
> run-in with 
>   
>>> tree
>>>       
>>     
>>>> The tree could be an annoying obstacle for anyone, particularly tall
>>>> people. And yes, it is true that tall blind people who 
>>>>         
> don't use guide
>   
>>>> dogs or some sort of hand guide device/echolocation are 
>>>>         
> going to miss
>   
>>>> those overhead branches. However, suing could set a bad 
>>>>         
> precedent as it
>   
>>>> would reaify the notion that obstacles of any kind are hazardous to 
>>>> blind
>>>> people because we are blind; the public may take this incident and
>>>> generalize it to all obstacles whether they're really an 
>>>>         
> inconvenience 
>   
>>>> to
>>>> one/all of us or not.
>>>>         
>>>> Respectfully,
>>>> Jedi
>>>>         
>>>> Original message:
>>>>         
>>>>> I thought this story was interesting. What do you think? Is the
>>>>> lawsuit appropriate?
>>>>>           
>>>>> Arielle
>>>>> Blind man sues Wienerschnitzel over run-in with tree
>>>>>           
> http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/50092926-78/tree-reynolds-wien
> erschnitzel-suit.html.csp
>   
>>>>> By bob mims
>>>>>           
>>>>> The Salt Lake Tribune
>>>>>           
>>>>> Updated Aug 12, 2010 10:59PM
>>>>> All Nathan Reynolds wanted was a hot dog. Instead, as the blind man
>>>>> walked toward a Wienerschnitzel restaurant last year, he got a face
>>>>> full of tree - and severe neck injuries.
>>>>>           
>>>>> Now, the 36-year-old Utah County man has filed a personal injury
>>>>> lawsuit against the owners of the Wienerschnitzel at the corner of
>>>>> North Temple and 800 West in Salt Lake City.
>>>>>           
>>>>> The complaint contends that on June 9, 2009, Reynolds - 
>>>>>           
> who had been
>   
>>>>> on his way to the Utah School for the Deaf and the Blind - 
>>>>>           
> got off a
>   
>>>>> bus near the Wienerschnitzel to get a meal. As the 6-foot-5 man
>>>>> navigated toward the entrance with his cane swinging in 
>>>>>           
> front of him,
>   
>>>>> he hit the tree, which the suit contends had encroached on the
>>>>> sidewalk.
>>>>>           
>>>>> "The tree struck him squarely in the face and knocked him to the
>>>>> ground," states the suit, filed Tuesday. "The tree was 
>>>>>           
> allowed to grow
>   
>>>>> in such a way that it was impossible for Mr. Reynolds to detect its
>>>>> presence by use of his cane."
>>>>>           
>>>>> The suit argues that because the tree was "rooted in the 
>>>>>           
> ground far to
>   
>>>>> one side of the sidewalk and [had grown] diagonally across the
>>>>> sidewalk," it had become a "clear hazard."
>>>>>           
>>>>> Reynolds seeks unspecified reimbursement for past and 
>>>>>           
> future medical
>   
>>>>> expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering stemming from alleged
>>>>> negligence in the maintenance of the tree.
>>>>>           
>>>>> Along with Grundmann Enterprises of South Jordan, the owner of the
>>>>> eatery, Reynolds' 3rd District Court suit names Salt Lake 
>>>>>           
> City Corp.
>   
>>>>> and five John Does as defendants. Reynolds seeks a jury trial; 3rd
>>>>> District Judge Sandra Peuler has been assigned the case.
>>>>>           
>>>>> Daniel J. Grundmann of Grundmann Enterprises declined to comment
>>>>> Wednesday, noting he had not yet been served with the suit.
>>>>>           
>>>>> Tom Amberger, vice president of marketing for Irvine, Calif.-based
>>>>> Galaradi Group Inc., which runs Wienerschnitzel, also declined to
>>>>> discuss the case. "We are unaware of this lawsuit and will 
>>>>>           
> look into
>   
>>>>> it," he said.
>>>>>           
>>>>> Ed Rutan, city attorney for Salt Lake City, would not 
>>>>>           
> comment, either,
>   
>>>>> citing the pending nature of the litigation.
>>>>>           
>>     
>>>>> __._,_.___
>>>>>           
>>     
>>>>> --
>>>>> Arielle Silverman
>>>>> President, National Association of Blind Students
>>>>> Phone:  602-502-2255
>>>>> Email:
>>>>> nabs.president at gmail.com
>>>>> Website:
>>>>> www.nabslink.org
>>>>>           
>>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>>> nabs-l mailing list
>>>>> nabs-l at nfbnet.org
>>>>> http://www.nfbnet.org/mailman/listinfo/nabs-l_nfbnet.org
>>>>> To unsubscribe, change your list options or get your 
>>>>>           
> account info for
>   
>>>>> nabs-l:
>>>>>
>>>>>           
> http://www.nfbnet.org/mailman/options/nabs-l_nfbnet.org/loneblin
> djedi%40samobile.net
>   
>>>> --
>>>> Email services provided by the System Access Mobile Network.  Visit
>>>> www.serotek.com to learn more about accessibility anywhere.
>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>> nabs-l mailing list
>>>> nabs-l at nfbnet.org
>>>> http://www.nfbnet.org/mailman/listinfo/nabs-l_nfbnet.org
>>>> To unsubscribe, change your list options or get your 
>>>>         
> account info for
>   

>>>> nabs-l:
>>>>
>>>>         
> http://www.nfbnet.org/mailman/options/nabs-l_nfbnet.org/mworkman
> .lists%40gmail.com
>   
>>
>>     
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> nabs-l mailing list
>>> nabs-l at nfbnet.org
>>> http://www.nfbnet.org/mailman/listinfo/nabs-l_nfbnet.org
>>> To unsubscribe, change your list options or get your account 
>>>       
> info for 
>   
>>> nabs-l:
>>>
>>>       
> http://www.nfbnet.org/mailman/options/nabs-l_nfbnet.org/loneblin
> djedi%40samobile.net
>   
>> -- 
>> Email services provided by the System Access Mobile Network.  Visit 
>> www.serotek.com to learn more about accessibility anywhere.
>> _______________________________________________
>> nabs-l mailing list
>> nabs-l at nfbnet.org
>> http://www.nfbnet.org/mailman/listinfo/nabs-l_nfbnet.org
>> To unsubscribe, change your list options or get your account info for 
>> nabs-l:
>>
>>     
> http://www.nfbnet.org/mailman/options/nabs-l_nfbnet.org/mworkman
> .lists%40gmail.com
>   
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> nabs-l mailing list
> nabs-l at nfbnet.org
> http://www.nfbnet.org/mailman/listinfo/nabs-l_nfbnet.org
> To unsubscribe, change your list options or get your account 
> info for nabs-l:
> http://www.nfbnet.org/mailman/options/nabs-l_nfbnet.org/jsorozco
> %40gmail.com
>
>
> _______________________________________________
> nabs-l mailing list
> nabs-l at nfbnet.org
> http://www.nfbnet.org/mailman/listinfo/nabs-l_nfbnet.org
> To unsubscribe, change your list options or get your account info for nabs-l:
> http://www.nfbnet.org/mailman/options/nabs-l_nfbnet.org/brittney.urquhart%40gmail.com
>
>   





More information about the nabs-l mailing list