Encouraging Vs. Expecting Accessibility

By Brandon Smith

I would like to discuss encouraging accessibility versus expecting accessibility. Over the years, I’ve had visually impaired friends and acquaintances who express the attitude of, “why is this or that not accessible? How dare they!” While we as blind people should definitely encourage accessibility in all aspects of life, we should not have the mindset that everyone is aware of our existence, and should be ready and willing to make our lives easier. We must remember that the blind population of the world is a small community. With this in mind, we should firmly, but politely request the world be made more accessible to us.

I do understand the frustration. It is no fun to pay hundreds of dollars for a piece of equipment, only to have it be perhaps forty percent accessible. I know what you’re thinking: Why make that purchase in the first place? Why not purchase the accessible alternative? The answer is simple: The accessible alternative is far too expensive. The way I see it is make the best of the forty percent accessibility option, and work with companies to convince them to keep accessibility in mind when making future products.

Yes, this can be discouraging. But I do recognize that accessibility will only come from friendly collaboration with the sighted world. It may occasionally require some aggressive persuasion. If we as blind people keep this plan of action in mind, as well as having a little patience, accessibility will be ours.