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Fiona Jarvis

CEO , Blue Badge Style

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Style & disability should not be mutually exclusive

If you're disabled people assume your sense of style is no longer important e.g. disability equipment designers & manufacturers think we like 'grey' and purely functional design. They also assume we have no money to pay for premium products.

Smart, trendy places assume we don't want too visit so don't pay attention to disabled access & facilities. If they have them they are rarely shown on their websites

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    Oct 14 2013: Hi Fiona,

    from my experience, this mutual exclusion of disability and style is mainly rooted in the given market 'mechanics' and thereby changes only slowly over time, if ever.

    Disabled people usually form small consumer groups which very often are not directly accessible by corporations due to health insurance programs in between, which themselves run their own 'mechanics'.

    In short : Reduction to the max to a wannabe commodity

    These dominating forces seem to be that strong, that even secondary markets struggle to bridge the given gaps.

    I know of just a view small companies who specialized on design-upgrades for disability equipment, and their customers are those who have this extra private budged to afford it.

    Designers and engineers are victims of this system and if they had their way, we wouldn't talk here on TED about this issue.

    Additionally to this field is, that function got to rule over design, as its main purpose is to ease disabilities to the highest degree possible.

    A stylish wheelchair, capable of winning a design award by its looks, would be a failure in purpose if it was tipping over easily.

    Incorporating both, purpose and design is no technical problem, its an accounting dictate in our given markets. Unfortunately!

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