Summary of Why Design Should Include Everyone

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People point. People stare. People take her picture without permission. Standing at three feet five inches, or 105.5 cm, tall, Sinéad Burke puts up with a lot, but the theme of her TED Talk isn’t the cruelty of strangers. Rather, she addresses how design makes seemingly mundane tasks – such as using a public restroom, collecting her order in a coffee shop or making her way to her gate at the airport – become feats of ingenuity and grit. Burke, a writer and educator, appeals to designers to be more considerate of all people when putting creations out into the world.

About the Speaker

Writer and educator Sinéad Burke is undertaking a PhD in human rights education.



Achondroplasia is the most common type of dwarfism, appearing about once per every 20,000 births. Although 80% of people affected have two average-sized parents, writer and educator Sinéad Burke inherited her condition from her father, while her four siblings and her mother are all of average height. Burke’s stature has made her keenly aware of how design can either foster or limit the independence of those who deviate from physical norms.

Consider a public restroom. A little person often can’t reach the lock on the stall door. In such cases, Burke gets...

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