Mar 032020

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  4 Responses to “Accessibility and Apps”

  1. You point out the reading that discusses that all technology helps us in some way. I thought of this in relation to my Critical Media Theories class with Professor Llamas-Rodriguez in which we read a paper claiming that humans and technology co-evolve. One does not exist without the other because we invent new technologies to help us with our lives, but that technology would not come into being without our creation of it. Simply put, everything humans create are to assist themselves in some way.
    In regards to your comments about technology inhibiting persons with disabilities, I highly recommend reading Dr. Olivia Banner, “Big Data, Disability Studies, and Algorithmic Culture.” Dr. Banner is a professor in ATEC that focuses on this topic and proposes the need for new technologies to be designed with disabled persons in mind because they are left out of so many tech designs.

  2. Humberto, I think the quote you use of Hendren’s is a great one to take home your point. I like that you mention designers creating technologies intentionally for all types of bodies, and the new implications and questions that brings. The app that you bring up I think is a great tie in to assistive technology, and one that I think could be incredibly helpful for creating more accessible spaces. My only concern with an app like this, which is not to dissuade its usage, is that it may inspire less progressive design.
    The term retrofitting is used within critical disability theory, and refers to the additive design of accessibility features within spaces. It refers to an ideology that, rather than reimagining spaces to be accessible for different kinds of bodies, “retrofits” something that’s already been modeled. The sort of “answer” to retrofitting is “baking in” which considers people with disabilities all throughout the design rather than at the end in a “whoops! forgot about you” fashion. Still, I think the app is a great idea as a resource for people to know how to get around in spaces as they exist.
    Also, I agree with Haley! We learned this theory in Dr. Banners class.

  3. Humberto, although I am aware of the lack of physical accessibility such as wheelchair ramps in various locations, I have never heard of this database map before. I do believe that the app could create important discussions about how they are potentially limiting their customers on just how their building is structured. The United States Census Bureau reported that there 320 million Americans with some sort of disability (hearing, vision, cognitive, self-care, independent living, ambulatory) in 2017 (DADS). This issue made me think of how many restaurants don’t or can’t provide blind people with braille menus. The blind populations have the same restrictions as people who can’t access places. Restaurants are still not legally required to provide patrons with braille menus. However, a few large food chains like Starbucks and Olive Garden offer braille menus (Shah). I hope there can be an easy and inexpensive solution to help the blind population order their own food. I suggest reading “How American Restaurants Fail to Accommodate Blind Diners” by Khushbu Shah, as he recently highlighted the absence of braille menus and the process of restaurants acquiring those types of menus.

    Data Access and Dissemination Systems (DADS). “American FactFinder – Results.” American FactFinder – Results, 5 Oct. 2010,

    Shah, Khushbu. “How American Restaurants Fail to Accommodate Blind Diners.” Mic, Mic, 9 Sept. 2016,

  4. Hi all,
    Nice to see this thread of posts.
    Bert: Thanks for providing an insightful example that allowed your peers to come up with further critique. Especially Alana and Madison, your comments extend the analysis of the original example, Alana by introducing another angle that makes visible the shortcomings of the app, and Madison by pointing at other barriers beyond access. Haley, next time include some of your views in the comments, alongside the great suggestions of readings.

    (Bert> Next time make sure the image you include in the blogpost is visible. You can also provide a link to learn more about this platform)

    Great work everyone!

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