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What is Accessible Technology and Why is it Important?

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To able-bodied individuals, technology is often swift and easy to use. But if you are a person that struggles with a disability (such as visual impairment or paralysis), using and managing even simple technology can be a challenge.

Approximately 15% of the world’s population has a disability of some kind. That percentage covers a wide variety of disabilities, but can be anything within the realm of cognition, mobility, or speech, and may be mild or severe depending on the individual.

Accessible technology is a concept that states people from all abilities or disability backgrounds should be able to access technology with ease and comfortability.

Examples of Accessible Technology Features

Many people with disabilities are excluded from important social and connective functions by virtue of those functions not adhering to the concept of accessible technology.

For example, when it comes to job applications, disabled people may not be able to successfully make a submission due to a disability that prohibits fine motor skills or visibility. In fact, a 2015 study found that 46% of respondents found their job applications “difficult to impossible” to complete.

Things that traditionally able-bodied people consider normal can be very challenging for those with disabilities. The following features are examples of what accessible technology can look like:

  • Zoom – being able to zoom in to images or webpages means that people with poor visibility can still perceive information clearly
  • Text to speech – being able to vocalise a text message or search for something online makes life easier for people with hand dexterity problems
  • Word prediction software – people who have cognition disabilities can benefit from this feature which predicts sentences and corrects obvious spelling errors

The Difference Between Assistive Technology and Accessible Technology

Many people may be confused about the differences between accessible technology and assistive technology, but they are two separate concepts with different attributes.

Accessible technology describes technology that has been designed with a wide range of differently-abled users in mind. It tries to anticipate commonly occurring struggles and provides solutions for them in a seamless and intuitive way.

Assistive technology is technology that has been designed for accommodating a specific disability. It aims to support particular disability struggles (whether that is a cognitive, mobility, or speech impairment) as opposed to a wide variety.

Accessible Technology and UX Design

The concept of accessible technology is not necessarily new – technology designers have been working at making apps and tech features and functions easy-to-use and intuitive for years. However, as the technology industry becomes increasingly globalized, so must the features that support it.

By making technology and by default the  Australian pokies online offers more accessible, disabled people from all over the world will be able to participate more actively in the growing information age and technological era that the world is currently living through.

With disabled people making up such a large percentage of the world’s population, the emerging push for high-quality UX (user experience) designers will continue to grow.

Making technology as accessible as possible for people of all abilities and disabilities is important for equal representation, equal opportunities, and the cooperation of humankind.

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