DISABILITY AMONG THE SOCIETY BY SHARMILA RAMANATHAN


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Before I blog about this weeks topic on The Business of Digital Disability‟ The Information Society: An International. Let me first start by defining what is disability. According to The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 disability is defined as

” A physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.”

In recent years, there has been services provided by companies for people with impairments. However, its terms of technology there is still a big gap that needs to be improved, a good example would be mobile phones whereby even the most user-friendly phone being iphone was not so friendly to these people.

Example one: as seen below, iphone is a touch screen phone, hence for those who do now have hands how would they use this phone? Adding on, for those who does not have the privileged of sight, how would they know what they are typing or how to use the phone?

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Source: http://www.bullfax.com/?q=node-jack-dorseys-iphone-home-screen-kind-boring

“Again and again, reflecting routine social exclusion  the introduction of new technologies sees people with disabilities overlooked, omitted, neglected, or not considered.” (Goggin and Newell, p. 160)

With that said, it is questionable who are the real “mentally and physically” impaired here. Is it the able society of these disabled society? From my understanding, they are only disable because we make them to be with no option in terms of features and services for them, adding on, I would say that we are the real impairments for overlooking and neglecting them and their needs as humans as well. As it was stated that most companies act to motivation driven towards money instead of necessary (Goggin and Newell 2007). This is said because companies do not produce the right tools and equipments necessary for the impaired because it is  niche market which does not bring much profit in return.

In the recent 2012 Olympics held in London, Malaysia won two medals one silver and one bronze but hardly any publicity or credits were given to them. To further add on, in the 2013 budget, hardly and money was given for the improvement for the disable community. Sad but true.

paralympics-300x224

Source: http://www.encyclopedia.com.my/volume15/152.html

Goggin and Newell (2007) suggested that the digital business world should consider disabilities as part of their audiences instead of making them like a second class citizen described by Tanni Grey Thompson said. With that said, more can be done in terms of health, education, employment, transportation, built environment.

For example, based on iphones previous complaints that it’s not so user friendly, they upgraded their features whereby for iphone 4 and later versions, there is an feature called “siri” whereby it is a voice detector which gives users an option to use their voice instead typing, this is user friendly for those who are physically impaired (perhaps no hands) or even for those without sight. This for me is an good example of improvement, and hopefully more to come in the future.

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Source: http://www.ppcgeeks.com/2011/11/01/siri-running-on-iphone-4-and-ipod-touch-4g/

 

Reference

Goggin, G & Newell, C 2007, ‘The Business of Digital Disabilities’, The Information Society, Vol 23, p159-168, accessed 5/5/13, UOW eLearning.

Kannan, R 2013, “Budget 2013-14, “Disability sector deeply disappointed” accessed on 5/5/13, from http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/budget-201314-disability-sector-deeply-disappointed/article4463094.ece

The Disability Discrimination Act 1995, “Definition of Disability”, accessed on 5/5/13 from http://www.equalityni.org/archive/pdf/DefinitionofDisability07.pdf

Paralympics Games 29 August- 9 September; Official London 2012 Website, accessed 5/5/13 from http://www.london2012.com/paralympics/medals/medal-count/

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