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Access and Inclusion through Technology

Access Technology - Today and Tomorrow

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4x4's in the parking bays

February 14, 2010
We took my father in law out this week, he's nearly 90 and very slow on his feet. As the weather wasn't great we decided to go for lunch. He has a blue disability badge so we hoped to park near the entrance in the disabled bays. It wasn't to be - 5 spaces, 2 taken up by 4x4's driven by folsk with kids who felt they needed a big space with those big wheels and stuff. 
Ok I was very irritated, but it got me wondering, whats the technology equivalent of a 4x4 in the parking bay. What are the things that are stopping universal design happening ?
Well a couple of things struck me - the first was the design ethos - make it small, make it sexy - sell it by appeal. Yes I am talking about mobile phone designers. Surely the cost of designing a keyboard for human fingers, or adding extra features to manage menus such as voice output are much smaller than the quest to convince us that the phone that was so "it" six months ago now marks us out as a pariah in a hip society  (when they get to be 2 years ago they are retro and hip again - but only if we buy a new retro phone not just kept the old one) Technology as fashion is killing usability.
But its more than that, the obsession with speed isnt helping - Google Chrome sacrifices massive functionality in the desire to startup faster than IE - thats not good, we dont take the brakes out of cars to make them accelerate sooner (atleats not as far as I know)   
Im sure there are other chelsea tractors out there - any ideas ?

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