Accessibility News - Summary for the Week of April 28th, 2017 Apr 30, 2017
Let’s take another look back at the week in accessibility news. This week we will review some helpful technology that could potentially improve your digital experience. First, we’ll check out a UK startup looking to make smartphones easier to use as we age. Then we’ll delve into the world of gaming and see how one West Virginia facility is creating a space for disabled gamers to get the modifications they need. Read on for a brief recap of the week’s best stories!
A Simpler Smartphone Experience
Using a smartphone can be an amazing way to stay in touch, go online, or play games. However, with all of these perks, there can be some barriers to using the technology. The phones are often small with screens that are tough to read and buttons that are hard to push. That’s why the Zone V startup is such a game changer. They have taken all of these potential barriers into account and designed a smartphone experience with both hardware and software improvements to help people use the technology they love.
A Yahoo Finance report says the Zone V, “…will support a range of Samsung handsets to meet the needs of a more mature and less-savvy mobile enthusiast and those with visibility impairment who want to use cutting edge smartphones.” With reported features like larger text and a magnifying lens on the case, the Zone V group aims to help users get more from their phones instead of becoming frustrated or finding the technology inaccessible. The article also says there is a documented need for these modifications as 46% of smartphone owners over 50 in the UK think they are tough to use.
SSB BART Group gave the AbleGamers a grant that allows them to reach even more people with disabilities in West Virginia! According to the article, there are about 33 million gamers with disabilities, although I bet that number is higher if you include more casual video game enthusiasts. The charity is utilizing this grant to create a much larger place for gamers to come in and receive 1-on-1 consultations every Thursday. This gives anyone who loves games a way to come in and try out technology that can help adapt a game to meet their needs.
A CBS News report on the topic states that in 2008 a study showed that 1 in every 5 gamers is considered disabled, and these people often utilize video games in order to have new experiences. Video games are often a relaxing, interesting, or exciting way for people to transport themselves into another world. Games can give people access to goals and competitions within their own homes. However, if you have a disability these games might be hard to use as-is. That’s why charities that AbleGamers exist. They can help the disabled community to get the modifications required and tailor their gaming experience to meet their needs. They can also recommend different tech that could help that the gamer might never have known about.
These types of facilities are really important. Giving people access to an equal digital playing field is necessary, but it can be difficult to achieve. Everyone has different needs and while one modification may work for a certain group, it might not work for everyone. It can be costly for a person to go through the trial and error process of trying out new tech that could potentially help them. It can also be extremely disheartening if they invest in certain technology that ends up not working out for them. Places like the AbleGamers facility allow everyone a free way to gain insight into potentially helpful tools and try out modifications that could open up a whole new virtual world. Let’s hope we see more of these types of facilities in the near future!
Were there any inclusive tech stories that you enjoyed reading this week? Any startups or new technology that you think we should know about? Share your favorite stories in the comments below and we might just cover them next week!