Thursday, February 28, 2008

Abilene Christian University gives away iPhones, but seems to have forgotten accessibility

If you haven’t heard, Abilene Christian University is
giving iPhones and Ipod Touch players to incoming freshmen.

I personally think its great when universities embrace technological advances and strive to understand the digital convergence taking place in the lives of their students.

However, maybe these people are acting a bit hasty. Do the great minds that comprise the ACU administration not realize that the
whizbang technology of the Apple touchscreen lacks accessibility?

What about incoming freshmen who are unable to access the information on their Apple device due to a motor impairment or blindness, precluding them from effectively using the touchscreen?

I wondered that myself and, in the interest of giving a fair presentation about this matter, contacted Lynne Bruton, the university’s
media contact person.
In my email, I informed her that accessible cell phones exist which can employ voice commands or screen readers that provide inclusion for all. At this time, I’ve not received a reply from Ms. Bruton; however, I will update this post when I do.

To the administration of ACU, I offer a phrase I coined a few years back: “If you’re not including somebody, then you’re excluding them.” These administrators are now aware that their decision, while grand and headline-garnering for offering up these cool Apple products, fall a bit short of offering a usable option for everybody.

For the record, I am not an Apple hater. What I am, though, is an advocate for accessibility and inclusion.

No comments: