Accessible Technology in the 21st Century
|| a stanford sophomore college project ||

.the future.


The ultimate goal of the accessibility movement is to ensure that everyone, regardless of ability or disability, has the equal chance to participate in society. In the face of constant technological change, this type of accessibility becomes all the more difficult but also extremely necessary. The only way to allow people with disabilities to engage fully in the things that interest them is to give them access to all the possibilities open to everyone else, including those offered by twenty first century technology.

Universal design “makes products, communications, and the built environment not only aesthetically pleasing but also more usable by more people – at little or no extra cost” (10). In the context of computing, this generally means making hardware and software that can accept a variety of inputs and produce a variety of outputs.

Many predict that the future of technology will be within the framework of “ambient intelligence,” where computational power is embedded in an ever growing number of items used in daily life (11). This will necessitate various modes of input and output to deal with everyone – not just users with disabilities. It is hoped that this new framework will lead to more accessibility instead of cutting people with disabilities off from the power of technology.