Apple may design the best products in the world, but they don't meet the needs of people with disabilities, a leading disability consultant will warn in February.
Anthony Tusler, former coordinator of the technology policy division at the World Institute on Disability will launch a partnership with the US Academy of Art University on February 21.
He wants industrial designers to use universal design concepts created to make life easier for people with disabilities. He accuses Apple of not pointing enough innovation at making its products usable by such folk: "A company like Apple, for example, puts little of its trademark flair and ingenuity into accessiblity issues," he says.
Tusler believes a little encouragement is all it will take to generate a new crop of designers who understand the need: "I have faith that the students will embrace the concepts of designing for all when they are exposed to usability ideas. I know they will discover that universal design is a puzzle to be solved that will help people with disabilities and the aging Baby Boomers," he said.
It's important because making products accessible helps people with disabilities take a more active role: "When there are more usable cell phones, tape dispensers, toasters, and websites, people with disabilities will participate more fully in jobs, society and the rights and responsibilities of being a citizen. People with disabilities want to buy and use cell phones, MP3 players, just like anyone else," he explained.
A wheelchair user, Tusler is campaigning to make consumer electronics firms recognise the need, and accept the importance that making products usable by everyone will have as the population grows older.