Sami McGinnis remembers walking into a polling place and casting her vote for the first time.
“It was a wonderful feeling to have that freedom,” she said.
McGinnis, 67, whose vision is impaired, gave up that freedom eight years ago after her husband died. That’s when she first voted by absentee ballot. Having no family near her Mesa, Ariz., residence, she found it difficult arranging transportation — especially on Election Day.
She wishes it were possible for her to physically vote inside a polling place because she questions whether her absentee ballot is counted.
Blind and deaf consumers, who have fought to make home phones and television more accessible, say they are being left behind on the Web and many mobile devices. Touch-based smartphone screens confound blind people who rely on buttons and raised type. Web video means little to the deaf without captioning.
Almost every company has a website these days. We buy, sell, promote, show videos, convey information, and do just about everything electronically that’s historically been done only in brick and mortar stores, offices and plants. It’s easy to presume that many of the laws and requirements that businesses work with daily in the physical world can be overlooked in the virtual business world, but that’s not always the case, according to the Department of Justice.
Georgie Sydnor likes having a computer program that will read to her the words on the screen and reply to her keystrokes. On the other hand, she’s not a fan of the way the female voice responds to her attempts to navigate a tricky task.
Last week I made a presentation at a conference on disability rights held at Union College in Schenectady, New York. I was invited by my former student, Joe Stramondo, who is now teaching philosophy in Michigan. The topic that our panel addressed was the impact of enhancement technologies on the understanding of disability.