Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Technology and Accessibility

A while back, I wrote about the social media advantages of Iphone/Smartphone games like “Words With Friends,” which allows users to play a Scrabble-like game with both friends and stranges, and provides a chat-like environment for interaction.
I wrote about the advantages of such a platform to bring together like-minded people of a particular ability level – sort of a unique social networking opportunity.

Well, I was called on it by a friend who brought up a critical question. These chat-like environments are by nature limitied in their opportunities for interaction to those who have specific skills and abilities. They leave out entirely a huge range of individuals, including those with dyslexia and similar challenges, like my friend. Online interaction, for all of its attraction and opportunity, can be exclusionary. Brilliant, talented indivudals may be entirely “out of the loop” in this Brave New World. It’s worth considering that we can’t look entirely at the online environment as the be-all and end-all for cultural, business or even retail interaction. The world is a lot bigger than the online world – even now.

I also believe that some of these concerns will be addressed as technology continues to develop. For instance, I’ve been astounded by the accuracy of my Dragon Dictation – and Iphone speech to text program that works surprisingly well. If you have an Iphone. The connected world in which we live offers so many exciting opportunities – but threatens an elitist information class – if we’re not careful, attentive, appreciative and proactive to create accessible technology.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I will probably be left behind by voice recognition software.