This past weekend at Accessibility Camp DC, representatives from the disability community gathered with web developers, government leaders, and other third parties, to learn and teach each other how to improve accessibility on the web, software, mobile applications, and more. The sessions varied for different technology skill levels and presenters included Jeanne Spellman from the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), Jamal Mazrui from the FCC, and Mika Pyyhkala from the National Federation of Blind of Massachusetts.
Although accessibility is currently a pressing issue as the broadband Internet world is becoming more and more essential to our daily lives, the importance of keeping the Internet accessible is only going to grow. As one attendee pointed out, as the baby boomer generation ages, this highly independent population will definitely drive consumer demand for assistive technologies and an accessible web.
So in preparing for the accessible Internet of today and tomorrow, here are some of my key takeaways:
- An accessible Internet benefits everyone, not just the disabled community. People often end up embracing the assistive technology for other uses (think about how people now use wheelchair access on sidewalks for strollers, bikes, etc.).
- People can rate and review the accessibility of apps at http://Applevis.com
- Designing websites for mobile browsing can help design for assistive technologies and will scale appropriately.
- Some issues can be usability, not accessibility.
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