Molly Burke on the Power of Universal Design

In a 2017 speech titled “Stop trying to fix disability,” YouTube and motivational speaker Molly Burke says, “I live in a world that wasn't built for me, but what if it was?” Burke was born with a rare, genetic eye disease that caused her to go blind. In this short but moving 8 minute video, she contends that making the world accessible helps everyone. She introduces the concept of universal design to her audience in simple terms:

“Universal design [is] designing and building everything to be accessed, enjoyed, and understood to its fullest extent by everyone, regardless of their size, their age, their ability, or their perceived disability.”

Burke identified Apple as one company that exemplifies universal design.

“Every product they release, I could buy at a store, open up, and use on my own independently, with no extra cost and no assistance needed,” she said. “I ask you to imagine how liberating, how empowering it is to be shown by a company that they view you as belonging to their customers, when so many others tell you the exact opposite.”

In honor of Global Accessibility Awareness Day, I wanted to highlight this video that tells just one person's story on the powerful impact of technology that is built with everyone in mind. Burke's speech is a poignant reminder of how designers and builders can extend a sense of belonging to their customers by making their products accessible.

YouTube video

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