Diverse Abilities

Gina Martin

header photo

Challenges with Technology

Blind man, holding folded cane in right hand, holding cell phone in left hand as he listens to voice over aid him with his task.As a woman who is almost blind, technology has helped our community of people who are blind or partially sighted gain a huge amount of independence back. Smart phones and other inventions have allowed many of us to participate and enjoy life more fully. Voice over, Siri and magnification (all built into the device) along with many helpful apps. These phones and apps help us to read and respond to text, navigate our environment, and accomplish many tasks independently where prior to this technology we relied more on others to assist us.

I know since I got my first smart phone in 2015 It has helped me with my confidence in doing things and going places on my own. We have evolved as a community due to the awesome technology available to those of us who can afford it. Not all of us can and I hope that changes in the future as this is one of the greatest assistive tools available to help people living with vision loss and many other disabilities.

But the current advances in technology are not always helpful or positive.

As we keep advancing with technology, a barrier those of us with vision loss are experiencing is that more consumer devices are being made with touch screen. The old tried and true knobs and buttons that we people with disabilities need to navigate the product are becoming extinct.   These touch screens are a major step backwards to oPerson touching stove touch screenur independence.  I am finding it difficult to find kitchen appliances that I can use. Stoves, microwaves, washers, dryers, and so much more are all being made button and knob-less. I know that the blind community is not something on the radar of product developers’ minds, but it should be.

This is not only something that affects persons with partial sight or blindness, but also the aging. We are all aging and due to the natural aging process people’s eyesight weakens and they need things to be accessible and easy to operate for them to keep their independence.  It is hard enough to lose your vision but when everything around you becomes unusable due to a touch screen, it can be overwhelming. As technology and the advancement of flat display screens continues to be our future it would be beneficial if it were built with a voice option so everyone can use and buy the product.

I am sure there are many of us experiencing setbacks at times due to new technology. I am grateful for all the awesome advancements with technology but for some people with diverse abilities simple is best. Let’s keep options open so everyone can participate as fully in life as possible.

Cheers Gina

Go Back

Comments for this post have been disabled.

Blog Search


There are currently no blog comments.