How Can Technology Be Made Accessible For All?
I recently saw a news piece honoring the anniversary of Helen Keller’s death on June 1, 1968. It got me thinking about how those who are differently abled, especially those who are sightless and deaf, use the Internet. I began to do a little research and what I found really amazed me. There’s a whole world of assistive technology out there to help people who’d otherwise be excluded from the experience of using a computer or surfing the Internet.
For those who are mildly to severely sight-impaired, there are screen magnifiers, voice and speech recognition software. high contrast text displays, and even video games developed specifically for visually-impaired gamers.
For those who are completely blind, there are increasing numbers of screen readers that translate the text of a web site into a spoken format. There are also refreshable Braille displays and input devices that create a tactile representation of the text on a screen. There are even Braille embossers that allow the user to print out a Braille copy of any electronic document.
A number of communication devices and programs are being developed for people who are deafblind -- those like Helen Keller who are both blind and deaf -- but this is an area of technology still in its infancy.
Although assistive technology has come a long way since Helen Keller’s day, I think there are still great strides to be made and I’m interested to see what the future holds.
What are some ways that technology and the Internet can be adapted for those who are blind, deaf, or both?
If you’d like to learn more about Helen Keller, deafblindness, or assistive technology, here are some great sites to check out:
Helen Keller National Center
Helen Keller International
The American Association of the Deaf-Blind
People with Disabilities Category on Y! Answers
Courtesy: Blog from Yahoo.