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date: 19 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Design is a little-examined but significant factor in the history of disability, particularly in the context of the modern West. Both designers and users contributed to a history of design that sometimes ignored and sometimes addressed disability. For many modernist designers, the ideal of a “standard” or predictable body was key to a vision of an efficient industrial society, creating a world of objects and spaces that excluded or ignored disabled people. Nonetheless, people with disabilities engaged with design culture in distinctive ways, using and adapting mainstream designs to their own use. In the late twentieth century, the design world took up new goals of improving access, raising new questions about the intentions of designers and the role of users.

Keywords: design, technology, modernism, universal design, critical design, consumer culture

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