Michio Hasai Michio Hasai is a social strategist and car guy. Find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

Silicon Valley is finally turning its attention to disabled people

56 sec read

Somewhere around 20% of people in the United States suffer from some kind of disability, and while the severity of these disabilities varies greatly, the fact remains that many of these people require special attention when it comes to making products as accessible as possible. Unfortunately, they’re not receiving this kind of attention in the tech world, at least not as much as is needed, which is why a group of Silicon Valley companies have joined forces to help make their products more accessible to disabled people. 

For all their rhetoric and idealism about changing the world, consumer-facing technologies have largely failed at least one major set of users: people with disabilities, a segment that represents roughly 1 in 5 people in the U.S. As the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) approaches, a new group has formed to champion the cause of development for accessibility. Several educators and tech companies have joined forces in an effort dubbed Teaching Accessibility. According to its website, the group aims to address the “lack of awareness and understanding of basic accessibility issues, concepts and best practices.” Key participants include Carnegie Mellon and Stanford, as well as Adobe, AT&T, Dropbox, Facebook, Intuit, LinkedIn, Microsoft and Yahoo. Of course, some of these companies may have some self-serving interest in pursuing this initiative—to boost their image, prepare for the possible expansion of ADA legislation to online services, or another reason. But that doesn’t negate the need to make accessibility a bigger priority. Not only have recent advances made this much more viable, but it’s long overdue.

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Michio Hasai Michio Hasai is a social strategist and car guy. Find him on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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