This century has opened with a dawn of new technologies that offer freedom of action and participation at levels never before achieved by many people with disabilities. The reverse is also true when designs do not incorporate accessibility making new technology a punitive barrier.
Accessible technology is vital to the disabled at home and in the work place. Many find that their investment in accessibility does not result in sales even when mandated by law.
The ADA and Sections 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act require that technology be accessible. The vendors are willing and we must insist that buyers comply with the law.
Developers like Discover Technologies have invested millions in product accessibility only to find that buyers don’t care even when the law requires it. Government and big business workers with disabilities are not insisting on a level technology playing field with their coworkers. Even when the product is the only path to access like in the case of Discover Access for Share Point.
If employees with disabilities don’t start demanding equal access alongside their coworkers then companies will stop including access in product design. We must recognize that this is not just about disability rights, but millions of dollars of investment as well. If they stop developing accessibility then no one will have access in the workplace.
Douglas George Towne
Chairman Disability Relations Group