Organized and run by AngelHack, the event attracted a diverse group of more than 110 men and women from across the U.S. who competed for cash prizes and a chance to grow their ideas in the Barclays Accelerator Fast Track program.
As a sponsor of the event and business partner of Barclays, IBM was asked to send mentors to introduce the coders to accessibility and gamification. I was asked to represent IBM during the kickoff event and led a discussion on accessibility.
I shared some of the latest statistics regarding age and ability:
People with disabilities: 15 percent of the worldwide population has some form of disability[i]
Baby Boomers: more than 35 percent of the US will be over the age of 50 by 2020[ii][iii] and 20 percent will be over 65 by 2030[iv]
Foreign language speakers: More than 61 million people in the United States speak a language other than English at home[v]
I emphasized the importance of these audiences, especially their spending power in the U.S.; persons with disabilities have a $175 billion in discretionary spending[vi] and Baby Boomers have $3 trillion in buying power[vii]. I also talked about how accessibility is becoming mainstream and how everyone is at some point “situationally disabled.” For instance, we can talk to our phones when accessing information in the bright outdoors and read captions on TVs in loud places. We all benefit from accessible solutions.
I asked them, “Who are your customers?” and encouraged them to include everyone. Shortly afterwards, I heard a member of a team say, “It should be easy enough that my grandmother can use it.”
This made me smile. They got it!
I applaud Barclays for introducing the hackers to accessibility as part of the hackathon and for attracting such a wide range of individuals with different backgrounds and talents. Bringing all these diverse ideas to the table ensures innovation that includes everyone. That’s what accessibility is all about.
Editor’s Note: Tom Babinzski, an Accessibility Advisor with IBM Accessibility Research, is starting a new blog series where he will share tips and tricks for accessible design and development. If you have topics you’d like Tom to address, please leave your thoughts in the comments section. I spend a majority of my time traveling to […]
Continuing our work to create the world’s most accessible, self-driving vehicle, IBM, Local Motors and the CTA Foundation recently held two #AccessibleOlli workshops in the Washington D.C. area. We invited two distinct audiences – students from Carver Vocational-Technical High, a P-TECH school in Baltimore, and an AARP workshop with older adults – to help design a vehicle […]
The earned privilege of driving tethers us only as far as the road, fuel, and our physical and cognitive abilities can take us. And, we all know what waits for us on the horizon as we age – losing the freedom to safely operate a vehicle. By teaming with the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) Foundation […]