Carleton Alumnus Stresses the Importance of Inclusive Approach to Technological Innovation During Accessibility Summit
(Targeted News Service Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) OTTAWA, Ontario, July 22 -- Carleton University issued the following news release:
Accessible design expert and communications strategist David Berman gave a presentation on July 14, on the importance of technology in building an accessible society that stood out amongst a myriad of topics at the International Summit on Accessibility 2014.
In the presentation, entitled "The Promise of Technology," the Carleton alumnus stressed that, in order to help achieve a truly accessible world, technological innovators must abandon the culture of accommodating people with disabilities and design inclusive products that benefit everyone.
"It all starts with trying to accommodate an extreme challenge to include everyone," says Berman.
Most successful innovations, he says, are already created with this in mind.
"The history of technology being driven by accessibility actually goes way back in time," says Berman. "Alexander Graham Bell didn't set out to invent a telephone. He set out to invent a better way for teachers in a school for the deaf in Massachusetts to be able to do their jobs better and in the process he ends up inventing the transducer, the transmitter, the loud speaker, the microphone."
Hands-free devices and voice recognition software in smart phones, which all users benefit from, were also designs through this process of trying to include all levels of ability, says Berman.
"Time after time what we discover is that when we design for the extremes, everyone benefits."
Berman's company, David Berman Communications, works with technology firms and web designers and promotes this culture of inclusiveness in the future of technological innovation.
"It's never been a better time to make online experience accessible and it's never been easier," says Berman. "We've been training people on how to create accessible web presences for 17 years and the amount of effort involved in getting it right is less than half of what it was 10 years ago--both in terms of teaching people how to do it and in terms of what they have to do."
In a separate workshop dedicated to the discussion of assistive technologies, Carleton engineering professors Rafik Goubran, Adrian Chan, and James Green each gave talks on the specifics of what this future might look like.
Technologies presented by the speakers included a hands-free computer mouse, robotic arms for wheelchairs, and various communications software.
Despite being a more technical workshop than Berman's, the underlying message of an inclusive approach to design remained the same.
"It's the end of disability being an exclusionary kind of thing," said Chan. "In our world, I think we'll always have varying levels ability, but what's going to end is this differentiation in terms of access."
From July 12 to 15, Carleton University hosted the Internal Summit of Accessibility 2014 which brought together some of the world's most progressive thinkers in the field accessibility share their ideas about overcoming the barriers faced by people with disabilities. It was the first ever international conference promoting access and inclusion for all aspects of life for people with disabilities.
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