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For Those With Accessibility Needs, Innovation In Data Usage Is Crucial

There is a myriad of tools to help people with accessibility needs access the digital world with independence; an absence of proper data control is impacting their use. TechCrunch highlights, in particular, the negative impact that flawed data is having on those living with disability, both from accessible tech and the impact of other, unrelated technologies. In order to promote inclusivity, companies must start using data in a more creative fashion in order to produce proper solutions. This begins with a focused assessments of user needs.

Tailor-made technology

Accessible tech runs the risk of becoming too generalized. Disability covers a huge range of conditions and requirements, and technologists must become aware of this and adapt their products to suit. Take the example of cerebral palsy (CP). CP therapies cover a vast range of formats, from aquatic to simple sensory. Using data to create tools that can adapt in this way is important, and according to the World Economic Forum, a crucial tenet for future design: using a universal and accessible design philosophy to make tools truly accessible. Employing data correctly can achieve this.

Using big data

This big data could open huge avenues for people living with a disability. Arguably, automated driving is the zenith of this. Motoring has always been an area of exclusion for people living with disabilities – while some adaptations exist, new vehicles are arguably not built with accessibility in mind. That’s without considering the impact of fitness assessments for driving. Automated vehicles pose an opportunity for people living with disability to enjoy far more independence than perhaps they did previously. The key is in using data to ensure inclusion, rather than the converse.

Staying ahead of the curve

Big data focus is going to become relevant very soon. Bloomberg has reported on the rush of big tech to get into the vaccine passport scene, and highlighted a major issue with this – disability bias. There is an opportunity here for tech companies to use their data to ensure that any such measures are inclusive and not discriminatory, and indeed, must be included in any accessible tech that conforms to new standards resulting from the coronavirus.

A futuristic vision, perhaps, but doable, and one that’s inclusive too. Rather than technology catering only to the most high-tech and narrow section of society, it can include people living with disability at all stages.

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