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Technology for the Disabled - Essay Example

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Technology for the Disabled

Obtaining information on the Internet, making online reservations to obtain discounts, making a friend is imposable for those who are blind or visually impaired. Adaptive technology can provide a means for those with little or no visions to access online tools and basic computer programs. Computer software can read screens and Braille printers and keyboards and make information usable for the visually impaired. Self-service kiosks are becoming a convenience in the service industries particularly in hotels and airports. Despite the convenience to the customer, self-service kiosks exclude the disabled and are less then convenient for the mobility, visually, and hearing impaired. Technology has made great strides over the centuries but had left out a large portion of the population in the process. Adaptive technology can make self-service kiosks friendlier and accessible for the disabled, however, the expense of such technology is extensive. "For example, to make check in kiosks work for travelers with visual impairments, the machines would have to undergo a costly retrofit to add a Braille reader or audio prompts" (Elliot, 2005, C7). These adaptations are very expensive and would cut into the companies profit margin extensively causing many companies to fight legislation that could force them to include adaptive technology.
Technology makes information more accessible for everyone except the disabled. Web designers fail to consider low-resolution monitors and adaptive technology when designing web sites creating a problem for disabled users. "Web sites that are not carefully coded can be rendered useless to blind travelers who are using special screen readers to get access" (Elliot, 2005, C7). Screen readers cannot read certain web sites due to complex inscription and low-resolution monitors cannot display certain types of font and graphics. Disabled users using screen readers or low-resolution monitors have limited access to common sites and information available on the Internet. Online reservation systems for airports and hotels do not relay information about accessibility accommodations for disabled users. "Expedia does not allow an option to book a handicapped -accessible room,"(Elliot, 2005, C7), causing disabled customers to make an extra call to the hotel to find out about handicapped facilities. Disabled customers intending to make a reservation must take extra steps to discover information about accessibility. Adaptive technology can make information more accessible to everyone without excluding the disabled. Braille keyboards and printers aid the visually impaired and blind in the usage of computer technology. Speech synthesizers read computer screens so the blind can navigate computer programs, files, and the Internet. Low-resolution monitors allow the visually impaired to see computer monitors and enable computer usage. Coding Web site to include the ability to be viewed by low-resolution monitors will extend a company's customer base to include the disabled. It is important for companies to have adaptive technology to convenience a larger customer base. "Candy Harrington, the editor of Emerging Horizons (a magazine about accessible travel) ...Show more


The sheer demand for products that are blind accessible - some 10 million Americans are visually impaired - has drawn companies to develop new products, such as screen readers that allow the blind to surf the web" Schafer, 1998, F .05). Adaptive technology is extremely expensive and many companies do not want to spend the funds to provide the appropriate technology for the disabled…
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