What is Accessibility? – My own personal experience

Accessibility The quality of being easily reached, entered, or used by people who have a disability. (Accessibility definition. Oxford Dictionaries (2018)

Accessibility. Every single day, every single one of us encounters an accessible building, path, shop, home. This isn’t an issue though if you are an able-bodied individual because we can walk up steps, through tight doors, up and down high paths or be dodging around people in shops… this to us is easy and accessible. But what about for a disabled wheelchair user? Accessibility is a tough area when designing for a wheelchair user, there are so many regulations which are mandatory and extra care is (or should be) put into designing for the disabled.

As part of this accessibility post, I am including primary research that I have done. In order for me to understand properly the difficulties that wheelchair users face, I got in a wheelchair and went shopping. This experience really touched me because it became apparent that the research and other peoples personal experiences I have looked at, is true. I genuinely felt invisible to other people just because I was at a different level to them – this made my passion for designing for disability stronger.

Here are some images taken from my trip to show the limitations I faced whilst doing this experiment.

This was a different but eye-opening experience for me because I am an able-bodied person; this really helped me to recognise the issues that limit a wheelchair user faces as well as recognising that with minor changes, full accessibility will live to its meaning.

Disabled people aren’t invisible!

My aim for this blog post is to raise awareness to a big issue that wheelchair users face; the feeling of being invisible.

After gathering primary research from observing my family members whilst out in their wheelchair, some of their comments about our trip out made me think deeply about the frustrations and inequalities that disabled people face in everyday life. The comments that I connected with the most is the feeling of being invisible to others around them. Disabled or not, we are all the same on the inside, we all have a beating heart, red blood, and organs. So why are disabled people being treated differently? Is it because they could be a wheelchair user or different to everyone else? Being treated differently isn’t a nice thing to be put through, and there are millions of people in the world that will have been treated differently for something or another, without an explanation, so why do people think it’s acceptable to treat disabled people differently?

I have done some online research and looked into whether other disabled people may feel, the same due to being disabled and I found some touching blog posts of individuals sharing their experiences with this issue. After reading posts shared by wheelchair users it made me think, we live in such a selfish and ignorant world. I understand that there are many people that maybe don’t understand disability or may feel uncomfortable being around someone who has a disability, but I wonder if these able-bodied people think about feelings and emotions of other people.

I am now going to share a series of articles and blog posts I have found, made by wheelchair users explaining their experiences of how they have felt invisible to the public.

When being in a wheelchair made me feel invisible (Brook.L (2017) 

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When people talk about me as if I’m not there because I have a disability (Hardy. M (2016)

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When I feel invisible in my wheelchair (Hugh-Jones. L (2016)

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