Author Archives: Rua Williams

Rua M. Williams is an Assistant Professor in the User Experience Design program at Purdue Univeristy. They study interactions between technology design, computing research practices, and Disability Justice. Common approaches to technology and service design for marginalized people tend to naturalize existing inequities, exacerbating injustice even while they attempt to ameliorate it. Dr. Williams deploys Feminist and Anti-Racist approaches to Technoscience, Critical disability Studies, and Science and Technology Studies in the design and evaluation of technological systems to simultaneously illustrate injustice in technology as well as marginalized users’ own practices of resistance through those same technologies.
graphic representation of various disability dongles. Top Left stair climbing wheelchair. Top right "social emotion recognition" AR goggles. Bottom Left Sign language gloves. Bottom Right haptic shoes interfering with blind person's navigation.

Disability Dongle

I created the term “Disability Dongle” in 2019 to draw attention to the phenomenon of design and engineering students and practitioners who prototype “innovative” disability solutions. The definition satirizes an outcome in which designs or technologies “for” disabled people garner mainstream attention and accolades despite valid concerns disabled people have about them.  (read more...)