Greetings! I’m Scott Savoy, editor of writing services at www.sterlingcreations.ca and today, I am pleased to introduce an editorial by our president Donna J. Jodhan. This week Donna focuses on technological barriers in the workplace as they pertain to disabled workers.
I invite you to read on and I wish you a great weekend.
Technological barriers in the workplace
It is probably never going to go away but the truth is; disabled employees may always have to face some sort of technological barrier in the workplace. Why is this? Because the evolution of technology is moving at a much faster rate than the development of access technology for disabled users. This is a chronic challenge that disabled persons will probably always have to deal with both at home and in the workplace and it includes both hardware and software as well as access to information. This should not come as a shocker or shaker to anyone who has knowledge of this topic. I will focus my attention on three types of technological barriers: Hardware, software, and access to information.
In the case of hardware: The technological barriers may be a bit less in that keyboards are fairly user friendly to disabled persons but when it comes to using such things as touch screen technology and dealing with flashing indicators on phones for example, then these problems will continue to exist unless there are other hard coded ways to deal with them. Strides continue to be made in this area but as I mentioned above, three steps forward for mainstream technology computes into at best one step forward for access or adaptive technology for the disabled. If we’re talking about the workplace, then the hardware to consider would range from computer keyboards to scanners, and from phones to PDAs. If I have missed out on mentioning of any other piece of hardware, then my apologies.
In the case of software: Many of the operating systems that are used today are for the most part accessible to persons with disabilities but the real challenge comes when so-called add-ons are included. Disabled persons, in particular blind and visually impaired persons, often run into problems because of incompatibility between the mainstream software in question and their access or adaptive software. This is mainly due to the graphical interfaces that mainstream software is made up of and the inability of screen reading software to decipher graphical interfaces.