Janice Coffey's story helps us understand who to include in "design that's usable by all people."

And not just in Fishersville, VA, but anywhere.

Over five years ago, Janice was diagnosed with a noncancerous tumor located behind her left eye. The tumor was the size of a golf ball and had attached to her optic nerve. She started tasting metal in her mouth and would get pictures or songs stuck in her head on repeat. She’d also have episodes of not remember where she was or struggling to speak or understand what others were saying. The surgery was successful in removing the tumor, but she developed some double vision after the procedure, and continues to have episodes of focal onset aware seizures due to the scar tissue in her brain. This has changed how she uses her home and community, plus has an impact on transportation and things she does socially.

Location: Fishersville, VA, United States


Watch the interview:

Notable quotes from the interview:

We have a theater that’s in our community. I love to go to the theater and watch the plays and performances there. I’m very active in my church… in my Sunday School class, and I got back into singing in the choir and so I enjoy doing that. Of course I love to shop and just hang out… you know with friends and family… so that’s what I like to do.

I love to go on quiet walks and play handbells.

I wish it was better that I could have access to walk where I’d like to go [because I can’t drive]… I mean there isn’t any sidewalks around where I live, and I don’t have easy access to if… You know if I could just walk really quick down to maybe a grocery store. I don’t have that… I wish that I could have that in my community.

Don’t let my disability define me.

Don’t be afraid to ask me. Don’t be afraid to communicate with me and just say, “hey… you know, I understand such-and-such happened.” Just ask and I’ll be glad to… have a nice conversation where you can get to know me better, and then I get to know them better, and that might make them more comfortable around me.