Bullish On Accessibility

I’ve written on a variety of access issues; software, cell phones and transportation are just a few. Hopefully not all of the issues I presented appeared to be a lost cause. It’s important to discuss in order to increase awareness.

I’ve been thinking a lot about access lately, mainly related to an upcoming presentation at this year’s Pennsylvania Council of the Blind’s 75th Annual Conference, in Pittsburgh.

My presentation is on new interfaces, not necessarily from a technical perspective, but rather the implications these changes have on our lives as blind people and how we can advocate for inclusion.

While preparing for my presentation, which included researching how we may interact with technology in years to come, it’s easy to understand how someone can have a negative outlook on the future of accessibility. Many current technology and research projects taking place today are not including the blind community.

I choose to remain optimistic about the future. Maintaining this outlook will probably take more work than a pessimist. So much of what we read and hear on news programs concentrate on the negative. Being turned down or ignored by organizations when requesting access can really deter.

However, there are some recent developments that make the challenge of an optimist a bit easier. Probably the most discussed in the news lately is the signing of the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act.

In summary, the legislation that was recently signed by President Obama will be the beginning of the next level of access for people with disabilities. This includes closed captioning for the deaf and Video Description for the blind. Even more than the various access requirements, I’m hopeful that an added benefit of corporations and others including disability concerns will change the way we think about living with disabilities.

Assuring access to technology, transportation, employment improves the lives of people with vision loss, as well as the entire society.

Going forward, I hope to feature other stories that shine a bright light on a positive future of accessibility.

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