Introduction to Digital Humanities

RELI/ENGL 39, Fall 2015, University of the Pacific

Technology and Our Fellow Users

As a person who does not have a major disability that makes it difficult to view information displayed on a technological apparatus, I have not paid much attention to the difficulties a person may face if he or she has one. However, from my limited experience, I do have to admit there are not a lot of resources to help. Perhaps, for those who are slightly visually impaired, they will have to rely on enlarging the website (using the zoom function). I have that problem (my eyesight is horrendous) and frequently find myself having to adjust the lighting and sizing of the page. But for those who are completely blind, they do not even have that luxury. They have to rely on a program that reads the information for them.

I agree with William in regard to the difficulties of navigating a page based on listening. Not only is not fast enough, it is also tedious to have to listen to things that are not relevant to what a person may be searching for. Although his program will help reduce extraneous information, there remains a plethora of text to filter through. It is also not fail-proof and will need to be customized to fit a person’s need depending on what degree of disability and what type of disability he or she faces. It is for that reason I cannot agree to an universal design, another point William makes on that matter.

Although having an universal design will suffice for the average person, regardless of extra cost or aesthetics, universal design cannot service everybody. It is correct to say sidewalk curb cuts allow people in wheelchairs easier accessibility to streets, but those individuals easily have more accommodations in their own private dwellings customized to them more so than what is seen outside. My point is that as technology functions as personal tools, there should be a certain degree of customization rather than just a single universal design. Yes, the cost may be greater, but if there is a market for it, surely, some will commit to undertaking extra measures in order to guarantee that extra customization.

There is also the matter of human compassion. In order to make the lives of our fellow inhabitants easier, rather than slot them in as an ordinary person, they should be afforded the extra details such that they are able to experience the full range of functions others are able to enjoy. Take note that I do not intend to insult or discriminate. Rather, should there be something that increases the comfort (or rather, the ease of use in this case) for a person, it should be done. In the end, I say all of this with good intentions, but it would be derelict of me to suppose what those with disabilities would desire. It would therefore be best to create a poll that would confirm or deny such thoughts. In that way, personal beliefs (and corporate ones, too) will not impede what would work best for those disabled.

1 Comment

  1. I do agree with you that there is a lot of different ways for help now. Williams should take advantage of. I also like what you said about human compassion that is a huge part in it.

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