SXSW: Digital Inclusion

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While making digital experiences accessible is something we strive for as digital designers, there are often factors like time, competing objectives, and sometimes ourselves impeding our ability to do so. The Inclusive AppRoom workshop led by Cristen Reat, Co-Founder at BridgingApps, and Hannah Rosenthal, Teacher and Consultant at Teaching2Gether, was on a mission to rectify that.
They raised our understanding of having a disability, something 1/5 of the worldwide population experiences, through a variety of methods. Blurry glasses to mimic poor vision, fingers rubber banded together to mimic limited fine motor skills, a strobe light to mimic ADD. They also brought in experts to share a variety of products helping to create an environment of digital inclusion.
The goal of inclusion is to remove the barrier to entry for all. Entry to the latest trends, independence, knowledge, and the global community. Our world has made it such that disabilities no longer have to be dibilitating. In one story they shared, Chris Hills, a young man born with athetoid cerebral palsy, hand mobility is that barrier to entry. Through the use of a singular input device called the Tecla shield, Chris is not only able to be part of the interconnected digital society, but thrive in it. The Tecla Shield affords Chris the opportunity to interact with his computer, an otherwise unusable device to someone who is quadriplegic, allowing him to become an expert video editor.
We’re putting the challenge out there to ourselves and our fellow designers. Before that first idea has a chance to strike, walk a mile, a block, a meter in someone else’s shoes. Discover what amazing solutions you can come up with.

 

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