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Robert Pearson

  Accessible Media

07/15/2015

Inclusion and Accessibility in 2100

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By 2100, we may even have to redefine the scope of disability

Image: A girl with Down syndrome smiles with her fingers poised over a keyboard attached to a desktop computer.

As we work towards incorporating accessible technologies in our communications platforms today, there will come a time when universal inclusion would be common place, writes Robert Pearson.

This June, my wife and I welcomed our son Maxwell to the world. Being quite a bouncing baby boy at 11 pounds and 6 ounces, he has already started to make his mark on the world and is doing very well along with his sister. As readers of my blogs will know, my older daughter Emma has been an inspiration for me in seeing a more accessible world through the eyes of a child and I have no doubt that her brother will do the same.

Where will he go, what will he do, and what will he accomplish by the time he is 85? What will the state of accessibility be in 2100? It comforts me to consider that in his old age, my son may see the results of the work that my colleagues, industry peers and accessibility organizations would have achieved over the next several decades.

As the practice of accessibility, digital inclusion and inclusive design come to maturity, I feel it’s a relevant time to outline long terms goals for what each of these practices should strive to achieve.

  • There will come a time when audio description is on par with its captioning equivalent. Eventually, everything within the broadcast environment will have these two accessibility accommodations available by default.
  • The concept of the Internet of Things will have evolved into the Internet of Everything, where all devices, platforms, infrastructure, spaces, and ways of transacting, living and navigating would be seamlessly connected.
  • The way we access entertainment, media and multi-channel platforms would have advanced so much so that we would need to have screens and accessible content across any surfaces (think, microwaves, fridge, furniture, window screens).
  • By 2100, we may even have to redefine the scope of disability as technology might allow persons who are blind or deaf to be able to live more accessible lives by using technology far more advanced than smart wearable eye gear, watches, and bionic implants.

I am cognizant of the fact that the work I do has a theoretical end date. The utopic state of universal inclusion and the accessibility of everything is what we strive for. As we are still in the early part of this century, you hear of intricate plans for what can be achieved by 2020, 2025 and 2030. Perhaps, even optimistic plans to accomplish universal inclusion by 2050. At this point, 2100 is still too far away; we simply don't know what the world will be like and how far along would technology have evolved.

Goal setting allows for long term planning and then it becomes possible to devise a roadmap to complete the tasks presented. At Accessible Media Inc. (AMI), we proceed with that understanding to ensure that we focus not only on giving a voice to the community, but also on ensuring that the general practice is evolving towards specific focal points.

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Related Resources

Blog: Positioning Accessibility as a Precursor to Inclusion Read Robert Pearson's Article.

Publication: User Driven e-Accessibility | Download PDF.