This week on the 20th May, we celebrated Global Accessibility Day. A day to focus on the digital access world for people with disabilities.
It would be easy to assume that the digital world has made it easier to access resources, information etc for those with a disability. And in many ways it has been a big improvement. When Apple started building accessibility features into their products, it revolutionised the way various disability groups communicated with one another and the world. As a person with a vision impairment, for the first time I didn’t have to pay an extra $500 to make my phone talk and read the various screens and information.
Similarly, until recently, to be able to use a pc, I had to pay several thousand dollars for a “text to speech” screen reader. In the last couple of years, a couple of guys who are blind themselves created a screen reading program and made it available to everyone. They only ask for a donation of however much you can afford. NVDA is the program and I love it.
Between my phone and my laptop, I have pretty good access to the digital world. The only major ongoing issue, is when material is put in electronic format as an image. Screen reading software reads text, hence the name text to speech.
If material has been uploaded as an image, my screen reader will see the page as blank.
We have definitely come a long way. And all of this technology has made it possible for me to get work. It is because of the technology I have, that I can write these posts and other content for Art Mania. I even have software on my phone that will describe photos, scan and read hard copy printed material and help me identify products by reading the qr codes.
I still get frustrated at times. It can be exhausting having to convert materials. I do however, realise that I’m very lucky.
The digital world is making life easier and allowing me to participate even more in the everyday world.