Tom Pey addressing the audience at the Everybody Tech event

Making the most of technologyRLSB’s research into how blind young people use digital technology shows that the immense benefits sighted users experience are often out of reach because:

  1. Hardware and software are often inaccessible.
  2. The cost of hardware is prohibitive.
  3. Vision impaired people need a stronger voice within the tech sector to inform how emerging trends could be adapted for their benefit.

With the Youth Forum leading from the front, and RLSB there to leverage our resources and contacts, together we’re campaigning and working to address each of these points. At the moment we’ve got a number of initiatives in place to tackle these issues.

1. Inaccessible hardware & software solutions

The Conversational Internet

Using the internet to retrieve information or browse is incredibly complex and time-consuming for blind people. Even ‘experienced’ users have to craft bespoke, makeshift strategies for browsing and using the internet. In 2011 we started to work with technology companies to develop a Talking Internet which would help relieve these frustrations.

IBM’s Summer development programme Extreme Blue took on the challenge and in just eight weeks built a prototype solution. It’s a hugely exciting project which has the potential to change how we all interact with the internet. Find out more…

The Conversational Internet – revolutionising internet browsing 

Everybody Technology

Good technology and design improve our lives in countless ways – by transforming what we can do and how we feel. But currently the benefits aren’t universally shared. Mainstream products are too often designed without disabled users in mind. And specialist access products usually score better on functionality than design, with their users too often feeling stigmatized and left out from the technology products everyone else is using.

Access Technology urgently needs an upgrade. It’s expensive, quickly obsolete and under-invested. Ask the people using it. But it exists because mainstream technology doesn’t meet disabled user’s needs.

The time has come to stop making technology for the disabled 20% and start designing new technology for the 100%. Find out more about the Everybody Technology project, backed by Professor Stephen Hawking.

Everybody Technology 

2. The cost of technology is often prohibitive solutions

Touchscreen technology has been described as the 21st century Braille by some. But for those on limited incomes, getting your hands on a touch screen device is often out of reach. We’re working with O2 and partners to try and lower the cost of owning a touch screen device and the associated contract costs. Watch this space.

3. Representing the voice of vision impaired people in the tech sector

Our Youth Forum is in the process of writing a Youth Manifesto which will include items about tech and launch in 2014.
Find out more about the Youth Forum.

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