Why Hackers Should Care About Accessibility

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Most people think of "accessibility" as those little-used options on their computer for disabled users. But not only does accessible design make a piece of technology useful to all, but it also increases the product’s user base and also makes it easier to use for people across age brackets and cultural boundaries.

“This is something that’s very relevant, and it’s not a luxury anymore,” explained Faith Haeussler, county coordinator of Philadelphia Link, a collaborative that helps the disability community become more independent. “There’s a shortage of caregivers, I think technology has to come in and take over some of the responsibility. I really believe that technology is going to help keep people with disabilities in their homes.”

Instead of the traditional model of telling people with disabilities what they need, individuals with disabilities were seen as knowledge experts, sitting side-by-side with hackers and developing design decisions at the conception of each project.

“As a quadriplegic, I know that I could not do the work that I do without technology,” said German Parodi, a grassroots disability activist and student. “Collaborating from the bottom up, we’re respecting each other and trying to build a future collectively.”

Why Hackers Should Care About Accessibility