Week 10 Digital social inclusion focus on disabilities

The issue of disability flows directly on from last week’s topic of white bread media. Currently there is a lot of exclusion evident in the Australian Media landscape. This week’s focus however, is the lack of disabled inclusion. More than ever is this issue in the limelight as the Gillard government is passing the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) through parliament.

Since myself or no one I know is disabled it’s an issue that I hadn’t considered when using the current social media sites. Most of these just aren’t applicable to the disabled and because of this there have been several social media sites created for especially for the disabled, for example easy chirp which is similar to twitter and I live with a disability.com, the links to both of these sites can be found directly below for those who wish to explore these sites in more depth.

http://www.easychirp.com/

http://ilivewithadisability.com/

There are also plenty of apps out there for smartphones and tablet computers which are designed to help people with disabilities for example

http://edudemic.com/2012/09/the-50-best-ipad-apps-for-students-with-reading-disabilities/
Not only do apps such as this help disabled people learn better it is also helping them feel more included in today’s society. As Goggin and Newell stated “again and again, reflecting routine social exclusion, the introduction of new technologies sees people with disabilities overlooked, omitted, neglected, or not considered” I Believe that the ability to create your own apps is a very empowering tool for people with disability because It is made by them for them.

There are currently over one billion people living with a disability, this is a tremendous market share that companies such as apple and Samsung are not fully utilizing, these people are even more dependent on the current technology to make their life more manageable than the rest of the population. Therefore if a company were to design a smartphone that is totally inclusive then that company will gain a significant advantage over its competitors

I feel that this push for disability inclusion is being hampered by the disabled community themselves. For every disabled person who wants inclusive technology there are just as many saying that they don’t need it and that they don’t need special care, it seems that the latter is more vocal in its opposition to digitally inclusive technology, as most people just want to help.

References

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/jun/09/billion-people-disabled-report

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

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