accessibility

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Image of panel discussion at Cooper Hewitt. 5 women with microphones on a stage, two small tables with glasses of water. Grace Jun is speaking, she holds the mic to her mouth.
Fashion Beyond Function: Ideals of Beauty, Design, and Disability
How are designers and marketers working to change fashion for people with disabilities? What is Universal Design? How does representation further inclusive practices? What is the future of fashion and disability? A recent conversation between brand ambassadors, designers, and industry pioneers explored the development of fashion for people with disabilities, representation, and the business case...
Image features red plastic form, circular opening at one side to fit over a door knob, tapering to long handle as hand grip to turn knob. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
Opening the Door for Accessible Design
Since the early 1980s, around the time of this door knob attachment’s production, designers and engineers have been particularly attuned to the physical, psychological, and emotional needs of users during their interactions with everyday things. This design approach has been called “user-centered design” and considers users’ needs at every stage of the design process. Donald...
The Architecture of Deafness: On the Subversive and Dignified Architecture of the Deaf School
Written by Jeffrey Mansfield Set in picturesque Casco Bay in southeastern Maine, Mackworth Island is a peculiar knob of land. It is a place I have known since I was a child: to the Deaf community it is known for The Governor Baxter School for the Deaf, to the locals for its hiking trails and...
Photo of Walei Subray. He is seated, and holds a microphone in one hand and a cane in the other. He has a thoughtful expression.
Design and Agency: When Design Fails the Disability Community
Written by Walei Subray Born in Egypt and raised in New York City, I’m a classic New Yorker. The only difference about me is that I drag a 58-inch black cane across the streets and sidewalks. That’s because I was born with a progressive eye condition called retinitis pigmentosa. As a child, I could see...
Drawing by Touch
Written by Steven Landau As a company of designers and producers of tactile maps and models, Touch Graphics, Inc. usually focuses on products that communicate spatial information through the sense of touch for use by visually impaired students and museum visitors. Occasionally, the company develops tools to support blind artists and scientists.  One of our...
Designers are Optimists: A Snapshot of Contemporary Design
Persistent advancements in materials and technologies, based increasingly on science as well as on the imagination of individuals, has produced a large body of work defined as contemporary design. Much of it has to do with the way things are made, often using new processes. We have mastered assembly-line mass production as exemplified by such...
In the upper left the words: "Design for Access: Cooper Hewitt Co-Lab." Along the bottom pictures the New York University torch logo with the words "NYU | Ability Project." In the upper right, a 3D-modeled rendering of the Carnegie Mansion in pink, blue, and turquoise. All text and images set against a gray background.
The Ability Project: Empowering People with Disabilities Through Design
Written by Claire Kearney-Volpe In 2016, Mayor Bill de Blasio and the New York City Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities presented the Ability Project with the ADA Sapolin Award for their “fearless and innovative approach to developing tools that will improve the lives of people with disabilities.” The Ability Project builds relationships and designs...
Printing an Elegant & Fashionable Brace
In celebration of the museum’s inaugural Cooper Hewitt Lab: Design Access taking place in the Barbara and Morton Mandel Design Gallery through February 15, we are highlighting innovative accessible design from the permanent collection. Designed to help prevent further curvature of the spine, UNYQ Align is an elegant and fashionable scoliosis brace that combines digital...
An Inspired and Empowering Hearing Device
In celebration of the museum’s inaugural Cooper Hewitt Lab: Design Access taking place in the Barbara and Morton Mandel Design Gallery through February 15, we are highlighting innovative accessible design from the permanent collection. How can you make a hearing aid both elegant and functional at the same time? Stuart Karten Design introduced the Zon...