Disability advocates are bringing accessible design to more people than ever

Disability advocates are bringing accessible design to more people than ever
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    >> Sreenivasan: SINCE THE
    PASSAGE OF THE AMERICANS WITH
    DISABILITIES ACT 28 YEARS AGO,
    SOCIETY HAS BECOME MORE
    ACCESSIBLE TO THE DISABLED
    COMMUNITY.
    BUT THERE IS STILL WORK TO BE
    DONE.
    RECENTLY, SOME OF THE MOST
    PROMISING EFFORTS HAVE COME FROM
    THE DESIGN WORLD.
    INCREASED AWARENESS, ADVOCACY
    AND ADVANCES IN TECHNOLOGY MEAN
    THAT PRODUCTS WE ALL USE ARE
    BECOMING MORE ACCESSIBLE.
    NEWSHOUR WEEKEND'S MEGHAN
    THOMPSON REPORTS.
    >> Reporter: WALEI SABRY WORKS
    FOR THE NEW YORK CITY MAYOR'S
    OFFICE FOR PEOPLE WITH
    DISABILITIES.
    SABRY IS LOSING HIS VISION DUE
    TO A PROGRESSIVE EYE CONDITION
    AND BEGAN IDENTIFYING AS BLIND
    13 YEARS AGO AT THE AGE OF 19.
    HE SAYS, BACK THEN, HIS
    DISABILITY MEANT HE HAD
    DIFFICULTY USING SOME
    TECHNOLOGIES THAT EVERYONE ELSE
    COULD, LIKE MOBILE PHONES.
    >> AND I WAS GETTING MOBILE
    PHONES THAT WERE SPECIFICALLY
    ADAPTED.
    SO, I WOULD HAVE TO GET A SUPER
    EXPENSIVE PHONE AND THEN GET A
    SUPER EXPENSIVE SOFTWARE ON TOP
    OF THAT TO MAKE THAT PHONE GIVE
    ME ACCESS TO MAYBE 20% OF ITS
    FEATURES.
    >> Reporter: THEN CAME THE
    iPHONE.
    ITS DESIGNERS BUILT IN FEATURES
    FOR THOSE WITH A VISION
    DISABILITY.
    >> NOW, WHATEVER I WILL TOUCH ON
    THE SCREEN, IT WILL READ OUT
    LOUD.
    SO...
    >> WALEI SABRY, HELLO.
    >> HERE WAS A PHONE THAT ANYONE
    COULD GET, AND I DIDN'T HAVE TO
    PAY EXTRA FOR IT.
    I PAID THE SAME PRICE AS
    EVERYONE ELSE, AND I HAD ACCESS
    TO A LOT MORE OF THE FEATURES
    THAN JUST MAKING A CALL AND
    MAYBE SENDING A TEXT MESSAGE.
    >> WALEI IS TYPING.
    >> I CAN'T THINK OF A MORE
    IMPORTANT AREA NOW FOR DESIGN
    ACTIVITY THAN THIS AREA.
    >> Reporter: CARA McCARTY IS THE
    HEAD CURATOR AT THE COOPER
    HEWITT SMITHSONIAN DESIGN
    MUSEUM IN NEW YORK.
    SHE PUT TOGETHER ITS CURRENT
    EXHIBIT, "ACCESS+ABILITY," WHICH
    CALLS ATTENTION TO THE RECENT
    SURGE IN DESIGN FOR PEOPLE WITH
    DISABILITIES.
    THE EXHIBIT HAS PROTOTYPES LIKE
    THIS BODYSUIT WITH ELECTRIC
    MUSCLES TO AID MOVEMENT...
    >> WE SEE THESE NOW WITH PEOPLE
    WHO'VE HAD STROKES, WHO NEED TO
    RELEARN HOW TO WALK.
    >> Reporter: ...AND CANES WITH
    FEATURES LIKE LIGHT-UP HANDLES
    AND WEIGHTED BASES.
    >> WE'RE SEEING EXPERIMENTS WITH
    SELF-RIGHTING CANES, SORT OF
    LIKE BUOYS IN WATER THAT TIP
    OVER AND THEY... THEY RIGHT
    THEMSELVES UP TO BALANCE.
    >> Reporter: McCARTY SAYS THIS
    INCREASE IN ACCESSIBLE DESIGN
    MEANS THAT PRODUCTS WE ALL USE
    ARE BEING MADE TO BE MORE
    INCLUSIVE.
    AND PRODUCTS SPECIFICALLY FOR
    PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES ARE
    BEING MADE BETTER.
    >> THIS COMPARISON IS JUST SO
    POWERFUL.
    >> Reporter: AND, DESIGN IS
    BEING USED TO CHANGE PERCEPTIONS
    ABOUT PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES,
    AS WELL.
    FOR EXAMPLE, THERE'S A CAMPAIGN
    TO UPDATE THE INTERNATIONAL
    SYMBOL OF ACCESS FROM THIS
    DEPICTION OF A PERSON IN A
    WHEELCHAIR...
    >> JUST SITTING THERE, QUIETLY,
    PASSIVELY.
    >> Reporter: ...TO THIS.
    >> JUST BY INCLINING THE TORSO A
    LITTLE BIT, ARMS BACK,
    PROPELLING THE WHEELCHAIR GIVES
    THIS SENSE ABOUT GET UP AND GO,
    AND JUST ENGAGE.
    >> DISABILITY WILL AFFECT
    EVERYONE AT ONE POINT OR ANOTHER
    IN THEIR LIVES.
    WHETHER IT'S AS THEY AGE OR, YOU
    KNOW, IF SOMEBODY BREAKS A LEG,
    ACCESSIBILITY IS THERE IF THEY
    NEED IT.
    >> Reporter: IN 2016, WALEI
    SABRY WAS PUT IN CHARGE OF
    MAKING ALL OF NEW YORK CITY'S
    GOVERNMENT WEB SITES AND DIGITAL
    TOOLS ACCESSIBLE TO EVERYONE.
    >> JUST DIFFERENT POLICIES LIKE
    WHAT... WHAT WILL OUR POLICY BE
    FOR MAKING VIDEOS ACCESSIBLE?
    WHAT WILL OUR POLICIES BE FOR
    ENSURING THAT PLAIN LANGUAGE IS
    USED ON OUR WEB SITES?
    >> INSTAGRAM, BE MY EYES.
    SEEING A.I.
    >> Reporter: HE SAYS APP
    DESIGNERS HAVE STEPPED UP THEIR
    GAME RECENTLY, TOO.
    >> LET'S OPEN A RANDOM PAGE
    HERE.
    >> Reporter: MICROSOFT'S APP
    CALLED "SEEING A.I." READS
    PRINTED TEXT TO SABRY...
    >> DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING.
    >> Reporter: ...AND IDENTIFIES
    OBJECTS IN FRONT OF HIM.
    >> WOMAN WITH BLONDE HAIR
    LOOKING HAPPY.
    >> Reporter: SABRY SAYS IN CASES
    WHEN HE HAS TO USE A SEPARATE,
    SPECIALIZED DEVICE, IT DRAWS
    ATTENTION HE DOESN'T NECESSARILY
    WANT.
    >> THE CONVERSATION WOULD BE,
    "OH, LET ME SEE HOW DIFFERENT
    YOU ARE.
    I WANT TO SEE HOW YOU DO THINGS
    DIFFERENTLY."
    YOU KNOW, THOSE ARE THE KIND OF
    CONVERSATIONS THAT, YOU KNOW,
    FURTHER EXCLUSION, IN MY
    OPINION, BECAUSE, YOU KNOW,
    THERE'S A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN
    CELEBRATING DIFFERENCES AND, YOU
    KNOW, POINTING THEM OUT.
    >> I LOVE TO TALK ABOUT THIS
    VOTING BOOTH.
    >> Reporter: CARA McCARTY SAYS
    THIS IS A GOOD EXAMPLE OF
    INCLUSIVE DESIGN, A NEW VOTING
    MACHINE CREATED FOR LOS ANGELES
    COUNTY FOR THE 2020 ELECTIONS.
    >> TODAY, IF SOMEONE HAS A
    DISABILITY, OFTEN THEY VOTE
    SEPARATELY.
    OFTEN THEY... THEY DON'T HAVE
    THE PRIVACY BECAUSE THEY
    VERBALIZE HOW THEY WANT TO VOTE,
    SO OTHER PEOPLE CAN HEAR HOW
    THEY ARE VOTING.
    THIS HAS NOT ONLY A PRIVACY
    SCREEN, IT CAN BE ADJUSTED FOR
    SOMEONE WHO'S STANDING.
    IF YOU'RE IN A WHEELCHAIR, YOU
    CAN ROLL UP TO IT.
    THE BALLOT IS ELECTRONIC.
    WE CAN CHANGE THE FONT SIZE IF
    SOMEONE HAS DIFFICULTIES WITH
    THEIR VISION.
    >> Reporter: THE MACHINE WAS
    DESIGNED BY IDEO, A COMPANY
    KNOWN FOR INCLUDING USERS IN THE
    DESIGN PROCESS.
    >> THAT HAS REALLY CREATED AND
    RESULTED IN A LOT OF PRODUCTS
    THAT ARE MUCH MORE FUNCTIONAL,
    OFTEN MORE AESTHETICALLY
    PLEASING.
    >> Reporter: FOR EXAMPLE, IDEO
    CONSULTED PEOPLE WITH CEREBRAL
    PALSY.
    THE DESIGNERS FOUND THAT TOUCH
    SCREENS WORKED BEST FOR THEM.
    AND, IT TURNED OUT, TOUCH
    SCREENS WORKED BEST FOR MOST
    OTHER VOTERS, TOO.
    McCARTY SAYS THAT'S TYPICAL.
    SEVERAL OF THE PRODUCTS IN THE
    COOPER HEWITT EXHIBIT WERE
    ORIGINALLY INTENDED FOR SOMEONE
    WITH A DISABILITY BUT ENDED UP
    BEING USEFUL FOR MANY; LIKE THIS
    SMARTPHONE APP MADE BY MAYAAN
    ZIV, WHO HAS MUSCULAR DYSTROPHY
    AND FOUND IT DIFFICULT TO FIND
    INFORMATION ABOUT WHETHER SHE
    COULD ACCESS BUILDINGS IN HER
    WHEELCHAIR.
    >> ONE CAN PUT AN ADDRESS IN IT
    ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD.
    IS IT ACCESSIBLE?
    ARE THE RESTROOMS ACCESSIBLE?
    IS THE PATIO ACCESSIBLE?
    JUST REMEMBER, IF YOU ARE
    PERHAPS A PARENT PUSHING A
    STROLLER, THE SAME NEEDS APPLY
    TO THEM.
    >> Reporter: IN PRODUCTS USED
    PRIMARILY BY SOMEONE WITH A
    DISABILITY, LIKE WHEELCHAIRS,
    McCARTY SAYS USERS ARE GETTING
    MORE CHOICES AND MORE FEATURES.
    >> FOR SO LONG, WHEELCHAIRS WERE
    VIEWED AS JUST A PLACE TO SIT,
    SORT OF ONE SIZE FITS ALL.
    >> Reporter: NOW, FOR EXAMPLE,
    THERE'S THIS WHEELCHAIR, MADE
    SPECIFICALLY FOR PEOPLE IN THE
    DEVELOPING WORLD WHERE STREETS
    ARE OFTEN UNPAVED.
    >> SO, THE WHEELCHAIRS ARE VERY
    DURABLE.
    NOTE THAT IT IS THREE WHEELS AS
    OPPOSED TO FOUR.
    THIS IS A MUCH MORE STABLE
    CONFIGURATION.
    >> Reporter: THERE ARE MORE
    OPTIONS IN FASHION, TOO.
    >> SOME VERY SIMPLE CHANGES.
    >> Reporter: THERE'S A SHIRT
    THAT LOOKS LIKE ONE YOU COULD
    FIND IN ANY DEPARTMENT STORE,
    BUT IT HAS MAGNETS BEHIND THE
    BUTTONS, MAKING IT EASIER TO
    SNAP TOGETHER FOR SOMEONE WITH
    LIMITED DEXTERITY.
    >> AND THEN, ONE OF MY FAVORITES
    HERE.
    >> Reporter: AGAIN, IT'S NOT
    OBVIOUS THESE SNEAKERS ARE
    DIFFERENT FROM ANY OTHERS.
    NIKE DESIGNED THEM AFTER BEING
    CONTACTED BY A 16-YEAR-OLD WITH
    CEREBRAL PALSY.
    >> AND HE WANTED TO BE ABLE TO
    PUT ON HIS OWN PAIR OF COOL
    SHOES BY HIMSELF.
    SO, THEY RESPONDED BY CREATING
    THESE FLYEASE SHOES WHERE
    THERE'S A REAR ENTRY.
    SO, THE... THE PERSON CAN JUST
    PUT THEIR FOOT IN THAT WAY.
    AND BY THE WAY, ANYBODY CAN WEAR
    THESE.
    >> Reporter: AND ASSISTIVE
    DEVICES ARE GETTING NEW LOOKS.
    THESE HEARING AIDS ARE DECORATED
    WITH COLORFUL RHINESTONES,
    MAKING THEM LOOK LIKE EARRINGS.
    AND PROSTHETIC LIMBS ARE GETTING
    A MAKEOVER, TOO.
    >> SO MANY PEOPLE USE
    ACCESSORIES IN OUTFITS AS A WAY
    TO EXPRESS THEMSELVES, AND IT
    SHOULDN'T BE ANY DIFFERENT FOR
    ANY... FOR US, RIGHT?
    >> Reporter: MAMA CAX IS A NEW
    YORK-BASED FASHION MODEL.
    HER RIGHT LEG WAS AMPUTATED WHEN
    SHE WAS A DIAGNOSED WITH BONE
    CANCER AS A TEENAGER.
    AT FIRST, SHE COVERED HER
    PROSTHETIC WITH SKIN-COLORED
    FOAM TO HIDE HER DISABILITY.
    THEN, SHE COVERED IT WITH
    NOTHING AT ALL.
    >> AND I DIDN'T REALLY LIKE THE
    LOOK.
    IT WASN'T FASHIONABLE ENOUGH FOR
    ME.
    >> Reporter: A COUPLE OF YEARS
    AGO, MAMA CAX FOUND THESE
    PROSTHETIC LEG COVERS
    MANUFACTURED BY A COMPANY CALLED
    ALLELES.
    >> I THINK BEFORE, THE CONSTANT
    THING WAS MEETING PEOPLE WHO HAD
    THIS SORT OF, LIKE, LOOK OF
    PITY.
    AND ALTHOUGH THAT STILL HAPPENS
    NOW, BUT I THINK WHEN PEOPLE SEE
    ME, THE FIRST THING THEY THINK
    OF IS HOW COOL OF A DESIGN IT
    IS.
    AND THEY WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT
    IT.
    THEY WANT TO KNOW IF I DESIGNED
    IT MYSELF OR HOW MANY OF THEM I
    HAVE.
    >> Reporter: CAX OWNS 18 COVERS
    IN ALL, AND SHE DID DESIGN ONE
    HERSELF IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE
    COMPANY.
    >> IT... IT JUST GIVES ME THIS,
    YOU KNOW, NEWFOUND CONFIDENCE
    BECAUSE I... I JUST FEEL LIKE
    IT'S SUCH A GREAT WAY TO EXPRESS
    MYSELF.
    >> Reporter: AND THAT, CARA
    McCARTY SAYS, IS THE POWER OF
    INNOVATIVE AND INCLUSIVE
    DESIGN-- GIVING PEOPLE CHOICES,
    INDEPENDENCE AND PRIDE.
    THE COOPER HEWITT ACCESS+ABILITY
    EXHIBIT WILL RUN UNTIL
    SEPTEMBER.
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