It is a subject that isn't often talked about in the flashy, fast-paced world of technology: accessibility.
As we collectively devote more of our lives to our electronic devices with every passing day, it is easy to forget the parts of society that these changes have yet to benefit. Case-in-point, those with sensory and/or mobility/learning impairments, who often depend on specialized hardware to get them through their lives.
It isn't just hardware that can help these people, apps are also an area of major potential, and one that is eminently more achievable in the short-term. If one person can create an app, then one person can make a difference. To this point, Microsoft has unveiled the new Accessibility Dev Center, which provides documentation for developers regarding the creation of accessibility software. This includes an e-book, a video and a course transcript to get started.
From novel vibration alerts to reading out texts, having a magnification mode to having reliable voice commands, there are many ways in which tech can be easily altered to make life easier for those who need it. Sometimes no modification is needed at all, just the right program.
Hal Lasko's story is an excellent example of this. A keen artist, who worked to create fonts and typefaces for businesses throughout his long life, Hal nonetheless found that as he entered his ninth decade, things weren't as easy for him as they once were. Yet with a simple introduction to the world of Microsoft Paint, Hal was able to compensate for his failing eyesight and paint as he once had years before.
Though more needs to be done to improve the relationship between those with different needs and the technology they carry, this is a small and welcome step in the right direction. To find out more head here.
Do you think more should be done to help those with different needs interact with their technology? Let us know in the comments below.