4 Must-Watch TED Talks Unveiling the Power of Universal Design

by Jul 10, 2023

Home » The Disability Inclusion Blog » 4 Must-Watch TED Talks Unveiling the Power of Universal Design

TED Talks are great resources for exposing people to inspiring stories and thought-provoking concepts. They began in 1984 as a conference focused on technology, entertainment, and design and have since expanded to cover a wide range of topics, including Universal Design. So, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite Universal Design TED Talks.

These talks offer valuable insights from speakers with a shared dedication to inclusive design. I encourage you to take an hour to explore these talks, as they provide a wealth of knowledge and showcase examples of innovative and practical ideas geared toward Universal Design.

Michael Nesmith, Why We Need Universal Design

Michael is a designer who believes in creating things that everyone can use. According to him, everyone has a disability — physical, emotional, cognitive, or temporary. And, everyone deserves to have solutions that accommodate those disabilities. He believes that’s the genius of universal design – even if you don’t share the same disability, everyone benefits from its solutions. 

Elise Roy, When We Design for Disability, We All Benefit

Elise believes the unique experiences of people with disabilities will help them design a better world. As she points out in her talk: “When we design for disability first, you often stumble upon solutions that are better than those when we design for the norm.”

Sinéad Burke, Why Design Should Include Everyone

Standing at 3’5′, Sinéad explains that design inhibits her autonomy and independence. The design world impinges on her dignity, and the physical environment impacts her lifestyle. What does it mean to design for accessibility? To whom is it accessible? And whose needs are not being accommodated? She challenges designers to view design as an opportunity to be inclusive and impact people in a positive way. 

John Cary, How Architecture Can Create Dignity for All

As an architect, John says he’s fascinated to watch people experience design in the world around them. He says, “design is like a soundtrack we’re unaware is playing.” John went into architecture because he believed it was about creating spaces for people to live their best lives, but he found a profession largely disconnected from the people most impacted by its work. Like Sinéad, he feels design can dignify and make people feel valued, respected, and seen. 

Do you have a favorite universal design-themed TED Talk? I’d love to discuss it with you. You can always schedule a consultation with me on Calendly. https://calendly.com/andy-houghton/15min/

I look forward to the opportunity to network, exchange ideas, and further explore the importance of UD!

Andrew D. Houghton

Andrew D. Houghton

President, Disability Inclusion Solutions

Nationally Recognized Accessibility Expert. Creating Innovative Disability Inclusion Solutions. Certified DOBE.


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