How technology is making the future more accessible for disabled people – by our guest blogger Elin Williams
Each year the 3rd of December marks International Day of Disabled Persons and we’re honouring this year’s theme ‘The Future is Accessible’ by talking about technology and its contribution to the lives of disabled people.
Many disabled people long for a stronger sense of independence in their lives and with the arsenal of assistive technology that is now available, it’s becoming more of a reality every day.
New technologies are being designed and developed constantly with many devoting their time to create an accessible world for disabled people. From apps such as Proloquo4Text, which uses symbols and text to give a voice to those who can’t speak, to Be My Eyes which connects vision impaired people with sighted peers who can assist with any visual tasks through a video connection, there are an assortment of apps and devices that bring a stronger sense of accessibility and independence to people’s lives.
As a vision impaired person myself, I have turned my hand to trying various different technologies over the last few years; from electronic magnifiers to a selection of screen-readers and apps which are widely known for their artificial intelligence capabilities, there are a myriad of devices and softwares that aim to make it easier to navigate a predominantly sighted world as someone who can’t see.
When speaking to fellow vision impaired people, I’ve been met with claims that technology makes an impactful difference to some people’s lives, whether it’s in the form of a talking watch, an app that has a vault of talking books or even the simplest of things such as a phone which has large display keys. There seems to be a piece of technology that we’re all dependent on in one way or another but it might be even more true for disabled people.
The dominance technology has on our world can often be viewed in a negative way with many of us finding it difficult to take our eyes away from the screen, but we must remember the positives of its capabilities too.
There is always an impending new release and with that comes a promise of further development in an accessible future for disabled people. Who knows what the next groundbreaking release will be.
There is still a long way to go before we achieve a truly accessible world but with the evolution of technology, we can only hope that it continues to contribute positively to the lives of disabled people, making an accessible future more tangible than it ever has been before.
What piece of technology makes the world more accessible to you? We would love to hear your recommendations and what you find to be the most useful.