Digital Inclusion or Exclusion

“The paradox of disability and inclusive information technology is considered”. (Goggin & Newell 2007)

Starting with this quote, I think it has given a quick kick-start with an example, smart phone. Why? It is because the technology of smart phone is still unable to engage with the disabled one. Therefore, it might have conversely turned into digital exclusive instead of inclusive. Besides, there are a lot of examples have been shown in Goggin and Newell’s journal on the designing specifically for the disabled one. For instance, the self-service kiosk in the airport is not accessible for people who are blind. The biggest obstacle for the blind people is because it is a touch-screen machine and given inconvenience for them in searching and navigating the information they want. Yet, the assistance in the airport for the blind people will be offered by human instead of improving the kiosk to be more convenient for them.

To clarify, I am not denying the service offered by human is not good enough. It is just that technology nowadays has become something for people to keep up the trend while providing convenience and efficiency. Perhaps a kiosk that designed specifically for the disabled people would help them to able to gain back their confidence. They can do things by their own; they can feel they are also same with other people. Simply, advancement of technology is able to enable people included the disabled one to keep learning. One of the advantages for the disabled is they are “using a range of online tools and technologies to subvert mainstream media’s representation of disability, to counter negative stereotypes” (Foley & Ferri 2012) in the society. Once again, it just proved technology enhancement can provide them a great help for their life without anyone help.

Speaking of social media such as Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, blogs and et cetera are the important mediums that enable everyone to communicate, sharing and updating information to everyone. However, Ruh (2013) said that “unfortunately, most social media applications today do not adequately address accessibility and are difficult to use with assistive technology, which makes them inaccessible to many users with disabilities”. Once again, it has apparently triggered the instance of technology to address the problem for the disabled. Indeed, social media is very significant especially in this century because whether you are in workplace, colleges, university or anywhere, social media is able to keep your distance with others to know what you are doing, your location so forth and so on.

Hence, social media is also able to provide great help for the disabled one because they can be just like others. They can text, hear, feel, see and also can let their acquaintances keep in touch with them in anytime, anywhere through social media. Therefore, Ruh (2013) has suggested some tools which enable social media has the possibility to be fully participated by the users with disabilities:

  • EasyChirp is an alternative to Twitter designed with accessibility and assistive technology in mind.”
  • “Twitter provides a long list of keyboard shortcuts for keyboard only users.”
  • “Facebook also provides a small set of keyboard shortcuts.”
  • AppleVis, a website created to collect information on the accessibility of apps developed for iOS devices, includes a free, accessible LinkedIn app.”
  • Easy YouTube provides an alternate, fully accessible interface for viewing YouTube videos.”
  • Easy YouTube caption creator is a content creating tool that generates a standard format caption text file which can be attached to YouTube videos.”
  • “Google offers an accessibility app for the Hangout feature on Google+.”
  • WordPress, a popular open source blogging tool with many free plugins, allows you to host a page on your own server, giving you more freedom to customize the software for accessibility.”(Ruh  2013)

Therefore, these suggestions might give the disabled to strike out the wait-and-see position and technology advancement could make them infuse the society norm easily. Simply, they would not just being excluded.

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Reference

Foley, A & Ferri, BA 2012, ‘Technology for people, not disabilities: ensuring access and inclusion’, Journal of Research in Special Educational Needs, pp. 1-9, viewed 9 May 2013http://www.academia.edu/1488237/Technology_for_people_not_disabilities_ensuring_access_and_inclusionjrs3_1230_1..9

Goggin G & Newell c 2007, ‘The business of digital disability’, The Information Society: An International Journal, vol.23, no.3, pp 159-168

Ruh, D 2013, ‘Ensuring Social Media Accessibility for persons with disabilities’, viewed 9 May 2013, http://g3ict.org/resource_center/newsletter/news/p/id_402

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