This morning I read an article featuring University of Missouri student, Gina Ceylan, and her experience of living with a vision impairment. Or, as Gina prefers to call it, one of her “diverse abilities.”

I thought the writer did a fantastic job of letting Gina share her story without framing her as a common disability stereotype (inspirational, helpless, mean, etc…).

The article includes an interview with a student of Gina’s, Christina Thebeau. Christina describes how her awareness of accessibility has increased after meeting Gina. She now notices things like barriers to entry:

“Everywhere I go, I see barriers to accessibility.”

I know this feeling all too well, Christina. Before embracing accessibility, my definition of effective design was incredibly limited.

The more I learned about Universal Design, the more my evaluation of a beautifully executed website/app changed.

Working on Compeer has only amplified this awareness in my mind. I cannot help but evaluate the accessibility of a location now. Barriers that were once annoying are now inexcusable to me. Gina is spot on in the article when she says:

“[Perception of disabilities] influences the way people make decisions and the way they design things.”

My approach to design has changed for the better since embracing accessibility. Here’s to hoping Compeer will influence others to broaden their view on disabilities. Oh! and hopefully it will also let others know where that tricky wheelchair accessible entrance to Ellis Library is located.