Accessibility

Pushing the Boundaries of Inclusive Tech on the 26th Anniversary of the ADA

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We want to recognize the 26th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and salute its impact in helping create a more inclusive society. This anniversary is an important reminder that we all need to continue to eliminate barriers in the physical and online worlds so people with disabilities and the aging population can achieve their full potential at work and in life.

IBM has been committed to developing accessibility technology to help people with disabilities for more than 100 years and today we continue our commitment. Recently, we helped a blind man run through a desert alone using a mobile device, are helping identify and make better guide dog-owner matches with cognitive technology, and are making it easier for people with disabilities to navigate a college campus using accessible location-based services.

While our current “wired” world presents more opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to communicate, collaborate and participate, the constant evolution of new technologies – mobile, social, wearables and smart homes – is a challenge and opportunity of ensuring accessibility.

For example, because developers and customers want to move quickly to create mobile apps, accessibility features are often ignored or considered last. We believe that, even in an agile development environment, accessibility, usability, and scalability must be early considerations and built in from the beginning of a project.

It is our goal to make it easier for organizations to integrate accessibility directly into testing environments, as well as check any content on web and mobile devices. We are creating and sharing best practices in design, web and mobile development to help eliminate accessibility roadblocks and drive greater inclusivity for people of all abilities on any device. And, we will continue to advocate for accessibility standards and integration in the emerging areas of mobile, cloud, the Internet of Things, and cognitive computing.

On this important anniversary, let us all re-commit to the spirit of the ADA and work to create technology that is more human, empathetic and adaptive to everyone’s age and ability.

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Drew LaHart is Program Director for IBM Accessibility. Follow him @lahart.

For more information, please visit ibm.com/able or ageandability.com

Program Director, IBM Accessibility

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