The changing landscape of accessibility across the globe will be a huge factor that influences technology advancements. The World Health Organization has identified persons with disabilities as the fastest growing minority group. With the Baby Boomers reaching the age where mobility becomes tougher and tougher we will see a huge shift in accessibility. There is no way that things can remain the same, with such a large part of the population needing accessibility in a way they have not before. We need to make our city streets wheelchair accessible, even this task sounds daunting.
While the changes may seem to be difficult to make, never the less, we need to make them and soon. This is just the tip of a very large iceberg that we are viewing from the surface of the water, unfortunately the hidden part is just as important as the visible part. With everyday changes and preparations we can be ready for mobility in the world even if our bodies have trouble with some difficult tasks. The world view on disability needs to shift into one that we consider in our day to day operations. With the world becoming more digital by the second and with things like the digital-divide to consider technology is under the scope for scrutiny. Technology is a part of life and has enriched life for most of the population. We simply need to consider who has been left out of thought, if anyone has, and then help them to join in. This can be done with simple technology like phone keyboards that are predictive and user friendly. User-friendly becomes very important and if we consider all different users it becomes easy to make accessible. ”Technology is accessible if it can be used just as effectively by people with disabilities as it can by those without.” Debra Ruh writes.
This is so true and accessibility is vital, but it should be part of our thinking while designing and not an afterthought. After all, we create minorities that are not represented when we leave some as an afterthought. We can be a prosperous global society that includes all communities, because everyone working together adds value in a way that working against one another we never could.