Rudi’s class Design meets Disability Response by Jennifer Dong

I want to comment on the Section “Fashion meets Discretion”. This section mainly discusses about the moral side towards how to properly design the product that helps with the disabled people.

I agree with the article that Eyewear has already changes from “medical model” to “social model” (19), and most people do not acknowledge glasses as medical treatment, rather, they would buy different styles of eyewears to fit with their clothing. However, there is at least one exception, and I come up with this exception from my personal experience. I recall that when I became near-sighted in Grade four, I was ashamed of wearing glasses in class. After my mom bought me glasses, I would always wear them on my way to school, and took them off as soon as my mom dropped me off and left. I remembered that I felt awkward to be different from most of my classmates, and the glasses were quite “ugly”. My mentality at that time could explain partially the phenomenon that eyewears (especially for adults) becomes more like a fashion items while other products such as hearingwear and bodywear are not. The first reason is “different”. Nearsighted is quite common in today’s world (but not so common in children’s world), while ear or body disabled is still a minority in today’s world. Think about how people would react towards someone who wear hearingwear or bodywear these days, and also think about if there are also few people wear glasses in the world, and some of which even wear cool and fashionable glasses, then how do people think of these near-sighted people? The second reason is the appearance of the product. I would make the assumption that when inventing the product, technology goes first, then comes with the design. This thought might refer to pragmatism, but I think that the function or practical use is always important than the appearance of the product. For example, in the interaction lab or the video that we watched last week about the Arduino talk, the appearance of the gadgets that people invented is always plain-looking. People need the designing company to polish their gadgets. Therefore, I explain why my glasses (in my fourth grade) was “ugly” based on this assumption. The designer thinks that younger students care less about the appearance of the glasses, what they really need is to see the world as well as what the teachers write on the blackboard clearly. Even in today’s glasses store, most of the children’s glasses are not well-designed, and are usually glasses with heavy transparent frames. This explanation might also be applicable to hearingwear and bodywear. As the technology is quickly developing towards these products, that is, these are “young” products, inventors are more caring about the function that certain technology provides rather than the appearance. The author also draws this conclusion in the article when speaking about the hearing aids, as he or she notes, “a market eager to emphasize its technical sophistication” (25).

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