Serving Special Needs With Tech

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Tech companies are finally pushing to make their services more accessible.

Report shows how tech firms are increasing accessibility for disabled users.

Our can turn themselves on and off, our thermostats can adjust the temperature based on whether or not we’re home, and our cars can drive themsel–well, that last thing is still in the works. But at least it’s on the design room table. Basically, tech has improved our lives in ways that even a generation ago could not have envisioned, bringing better quality of life to everything from retail shopping to medical care.

But there’s one aspect of life where tech could be doing so much more, yet still seems to be lacking: disability access service. Make no mistake, the technology behind the advancements in meeting unique needs is leaps and bounds above a couple of decades ago; just ask anyone with a Bluetooth-enabled, app-driven insulin pump and glucose meter. It’s just that there are so many everyday needs that aren’t quite being met.

Tech support

Fortunately, a number of tech giants are at work on improving the day-to-day functions of their devices and products so that they better meet individuals’ unique needs. A new report from VentureBeat outlines a handful of significant innovations that various tech firms are at work on, everything from gaming accessibility to better travel.

Airbnb

AirBnb is one company that will now offer a filter for disability access. It’s got to be tough to book accommodations for an important trip, only to arrive and learn that you’re not going to be showering or using the toilet while you’re there because there are no handholds or the doorway is too narrow.

Google Maps

For getting around, Google Maps will now offer a setting that lets the user find wheelchair accessible routes so there are no surprise staircases down into the subway. While certainly a more mundane consideration, a number of tech companies are also working on accessible options for gaming, including an eye-tracking headset that is shockingly accurate in its ability to let the user interact with the functions of the game.

Reality for millions

In 2018, these innovations shouldn’t be all that… well… innovative. They address a part of the reality of life for a sizeable portion of the population, and as such really shouldn’t require such a long wait time. It’s simply a matter of someone looking around and saying, “Wow, someone can’t use our product and the answer is so simple.” The key is in finding team members who can see these needs without having to be told about them. More accessibility options will certainly follow suit when tech companies make an ability-diverse workforce part of their everyday operations.

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