Have you ever considered how easy it is to operate computers, and your personal tech toys? Think about it for a second, isn’t it nice. I mean the technology is adapted for human dexterity, and away you go. Oh, but what if you were physically challenged in any way? Well, that just changes everything doesn’t it? Sure it does. Recently, I was talking to someone who runs a nonprofit about the accessibility issues and technology software which is supposed to enable those with challenges.
It turns out that the technology has come a long way, but still has a ways to go and a lot to be desired. Apparently, the individual read an old article I’d written online a few years ago titled; “”The future of Voice and Speech Recognition” – and they said they could “share some concerns” – concerns of real people in the real world with real physical or mental challenges attempting to use accessibility software.
Turns out, it can be quite frustrating at times, it’s no picnic. And there are other issues such as the high cost involved. Of course, this makes total sense and after the Silicon Valley Bubble the research in these venues slowed to a trickle, only a few companies continued to blaze the field. Luckily, there are still some gurus of voice recognition who are working on accessibility.
Some work for Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Google, Nuance, and there are many who have contracts with the government for all sorts of uses. You see, it does matter, and especially with all the new mobile technology. I suppose very soon there will not be key boards on phones, tablets or other devices, the software will run the whole thing. That ought to create a level playing field – as it wouldn’t matter if you were handicapped or not, we’d all be in the same boat then.
If we are really serious about crossing the digital divide once and for all, and then never looking back, then we shouldn’t be leaving people in the dust. We do have an obligation and a moral responsibility to work on accessibility issues, and not just give it lip service. All those features are great, but a reality check is needed. You see, it must work in the real world for the people it was truly designed to help. It is my hope that you will take a moment and think on this, then email me if you have some solutions or information you can share on this topic with our Think Tank.