It is normal to ignore learning about things that you believe don’t directly apply to you. Do you know how to perfectly balance an egg on a stick? Or maybe how to accurately type into your phone with your hands on your back? Probably not, because you probably have never had to. And you probably won’t learn it either, because, well, why would you? But some skills may actually come in more handy than you might initially think. When it comes to accessibility, for example, everyone benefits and you don't have to be a dedicated accessibility expert to make a difference.
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Did you know that your smartphone can talk? As accessibility professionals, sometimes we take certain knowledge for granted. We assume people have a baseline awareness of what "accessibility" is, and we spend our time advocating for more inclusively designed apps and websites. But sometimes we skip over one of the most basic questions: how can a person who is blind use a smartphone?
There’s a game which has recently been gaining popularity called Block Quiz. It is a trivia/association game where characters from all sorts of media are transformed into simplified color blocks. There’s also a variation for brands. The goal is to see how many characters or brands you can identify in a set amount of time based solely on their blocked colors. It became so popular, in fact, that it was turned into an Instagram Filter. Needless to say, as someone who is colorblind, I didn’t partake in the trend.
Have you ever pulled on a door handle expecting the door to open, only to find out you needed to push? Usually these doors are in a public space, have an ambiguous bar, and are never clear if you need to push or pull. If you are lucky, worn letters or braille of “Push” or “Pull” might be marked on the handle. After much struggle, everyone eventually sheepishly opens the door. People sometimes feel as if they should have remembered how the door opens, which is not the case.