Accessibility is one of those words that is often used and not always with the same meaning. But that doesn’t stop it from being part of all tech project. At the core of it, accessibility relates to the possibility for a digital product to be used by people of all abilities and disabilities. But this is only one meaning. Accessibility also refers to the quality of something that is easy to obtain and reach. Consequently, when thinking of making things more accessible through dedicated technology, people need to consider the duality of accessibility. Not only is it the quality of something that everyone can use, but it is also something that is easily obtainable and easy to use. So how does accessibility translate into modern technology?
Handicap? What handicap?
You might think that modern functions such as Siri are cool, but they are more than just that. They are a lifesaver for people with disabilities, both visual and physical. Being able to tell your phone to do something – whether it is to make a phone call or to record an appointment – has given millions of individuals a chance to live a fuller life. Tech has changed life for those with disabilities in ways that we cannot begin to understand. As odd as it might sound, the gaming tech has also brought a new social life to those who can’t leave their home. With it, they can interact with other people and create bonds and relationships in ways that were not possible 20 years ago. Even the TV now offers an incredible advantage for those with visual impairment. By changing the contrast, the brightness, and the font size, they can follow the same TV shows than everyone else and feel more integrated into their social circle.
No matter what conditions, it works
There was a time when bad weather and other external factors would limit the way you could work or engage in your daily activities. But the evolution of solid tech solutions and weatherproof tools is providing a whole new range of usages. For instance, if you are working in a humid environment, a waterproof device that uses membrane switches can keep the water at bay and ensure that the electronic elements are protected. In security roles and on industrial sites, the apparition of solid and unbreakable devices have changed the way people work. Having a phone that can survive being thrown down and even run over means that you can still react to dangerous situations and give the alert when it is needed.
Everything is here already
The Internet of Things is not a new concept. From your activity tracker to your GPS location on the phone, you already live in a world where the IoT keeps track of your data and develop knowledge around you. In future, the possibility to make data more and more available to a variety of devices means that surgeons might only need to wear Google Glasses to get a perfectly fitted 3D print of your hip for what is today a complex operation that still fails on the customization side. We just need devices that make the necessary data easier to obtain.
From smoothing handicaps out to bringing all data-related knowledge together, accessibility has the potential to create a world that is handicap-, weather- and unknown-proof. A world where almost everything is possible, that is the promise of accessibility.