140 000 IPhone Applications. None for the Disabled.

Accessible and Inclusive technology for all especially for individuals with disabilities seems to be a taboo subject in the media landscape. Professor Goggin is an expert in the field of digital communications and believes companies such as Apple are not tailoring their products to the disabled which is therefore excluding them from the digital realm. Although the IPhone included some petty features that could be useful for the disabled, it did have many problems such as no raised buttons or voice activated commands. “Disability still remains poorly understood by business actors and corporations” (p. 165). Goggin believes these new technologies are so advanced but yet simple measures to include disabled individuals are overlooked or are a “x compatible add-on and after thought” (p. 160). In today’s society, interaction relies heavily on social media and communicating through mobile phones. With no access to this, disabled peoples can be socially excluded due to not being able to access new technology.

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Another technological aspect of everyday lives that overlooks disabled participants is the television. In Scott Nixon’s article titled ‘Australia still a prison for vision impaired TV viewers,’ Nixon highlights that blind and vision impaired individuals are “locked out” from TV entertainment because there is no audio description. Nixon explains some positive steps have been taken such as the ABC1 technical trial which involved audio description, but compared to the rest of the world there is still many programs and channels including Foxtel that need to include audio description for blind and hearing impaired viewers, so they too can be a part of and enjoy the entertainment television offers. This article relates to Goggin’s view of new media excluding disabled individuals as Goggin comments this type of technology reflects routinized social exclusion and “sees people with disabilities overlooked, omitted, neglected or not considered” (p.160).

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Society, corporations and technology are highly advanced and everyday new technologies are being released that are more innovative and creative than the last. With a new and greater understanding of disabilities and the modern technologies created, a significant link and synergy should be implemented to allow disabled individuals to interact with technology and be a part of mobile phones, television entertainment and social media. At times these new technologies do the opposite and exclude people from the digital realm which should be combining media and people.     Lauren Northover

 

References –

Goggin, G. and C. Newell (2007), ‘The Business of Digital Disability,’ the Information Society: An International Journal, Volume 23, Issue 3, 159-168, UNSW, Sydney.

 

Nixon, S. (2013), ‘Australia still a Prison for Vision Impaired TV Viewers,’ Ramp Up: Disability, Discussion, Debate, ABC.

http://www.abc.net.au/rampup/articles/2013/05/03/3750992.htm

 

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