Accessible Innovation

Innovation is a word that cannot be missed in any part of our lives today. Technological advancement has touched the lives of people in the most remote parts of the world – we are all better connected, better aware and better resourced. Who could have imagined touch-based devices could become every day commodities in practically every corner of the globe! Innovation has the power of true societal transformation. Accessibility is one topic which has been affected directly by such trends in technology. For example, hand-held devices have heralded as a game changer for disabilities including visual impairment. The rise of AI (Artificial Intelligence) gives more hope to disabled users to be empowered by technology.

There has been a glowing example to demonstrate this idea called ‘Humanitarian Hands-on Tool’. This fully accessible app aims to address the idea that in case of an emergency, a disabled person is likely to be the worst affected. The app aids workers by providing step-by-step guidance on how to implement an inclusive emergency response. This includes easy access to key information including emergency shelter, health services, distribution of essential items etc. Through easy to use task cards, the aid workers are provided with clear, practical and detailed instructions, which help them assist people with disabilities better. Such exemplary tools are to be celebrated for their thoughtfulness and trendsetting nature – and also for putting accessibility in the heart of innovation.

Followers of the popular Television program ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ will distinctly remember the recent awe-inspiring performances of Jonnie Peacock, a celebrated Paralympian. His participation in the famed dance competition was hailed as a sign of disabled people well and truly entering the ‘mainstream’. It is time we bring that spirit to innovation as well. Accessibility cannot be a marginal idea. It has to be the driver of a thought, a development or even a movement! Come, be a part of it – let us innovate for everyone!

To read another of my pieces on accessibility, click here.

Published by

Sowmya Ramesh

Sowmya Ramesh has been with Sopra Steria for the last 7 years, currently leading an initiative for developing the topic of Accessibility Testing within the company. With over 14 years of experience in the IT consultancy / service industry, Sowmya has worked with various clients in public and private sectors. A stint at ‘Enable Scotland’, a charity supporting people with learning disabilities, gave her an opportunity to understand the needs of the disabled community and she has developed a deep interest in accessibility. She has been striving to raise awareness about this topic and hopes for it to gain more importance in the IT sphere.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s