I am not myself disabled. Someday I may be. But since an early age I have been sensitive to the needs of those who are. When I started my career as a software developer, I made the needs of disabled users a priority. Back in the days of text-based operating systems like CPM and MS-DOS I wrote utilities to help visually impaired people read the screen. As graphic operating systems took over, I lobbied for support in the graphical user interface (GUI) for accessibility options. Companies like Apple and Microsoft were fairly responsive (translate they wanted to win the market share of disabled people).
I deviated from my career advocating as a software developer for the disabled when I spent 4 years raising guide dog for the blind puppies. While I didn't have my head deep into operating system code I became aware of whole other set of difficulties disabled people encounter. I have decided that this is one of the things that I care about. So regardless of what specific job I take, or company I form, or guide dog group I join, I will continue to care about making the world more accessible to disabled people.
I believe that everybody has something to offer. We all lose when we exclude a group of people from participating in our little corner of life. We all have much to gain when we unlock the ideas so far hidden within this sector of our community. Diversity is the path to true enlightenment.Â
Anyway, this article was inpired by something on Yahoo! news about how the web is the latest frontier that is inaccessible to our disabled community members. Bad practices by web page developers makes most sites inaccessible to as much as 10% of the web community. See the full article hereÂ on Yahoo!.
Let's fix this and get the input of the people who have not been able to participate. When possible, write software, build buildings, make web sites accessible to those with and without a disability.Â