Access and Inclusion through Technology

Access Technology - Today and Tomorrow

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The power and cost of ignorance

November 11th, 2008
I spent some time looking at youtube videos tonight - nothing new there - but just for a change I decided to look at some of the comments and replies that videos generate. What is scary - is the amount of opinion that is posted as fact - and often based on little more than prejudice and bias.
Just for the record im not talking about the Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross debate, Im thinking about how easy it is to mislead vulnerable users.
I was looking at opinions and comments on videos uploaded that demonstrated Vista voice recognition. Now Vista VR is a powerful tool that works well for many if not all users. Its helpful for people with Dyslexia, Physical disabilities, RSI and a range of other needs where keyboards become inaccessible. It has a number of really useful tools, not least of all the show numbers command and the mousegrid. I also like to see users talking about their experience the positives and the negatives.
Importantly for Vista users its free, and allows everyone the chance to try this technpology perhaps for the first time. So it is especially frustrating when people give opinions based on  no experience, evidence or knowledge.
Telling people that VR is hopeless, useless and a joke, based on how you dont like the developer is immensley childish. Users who need the tools, are encouraged not to try them based on “experts” giving ill informed opinions. As a result, people remain in pain, don’t get online, dont get the chance to gain qualifications, or a job or whatever else might have been possible.
I know that everyone needs to learn to appreciate the quality of what they find on the internet - but for many users - simply the fact that someone knows how to use YouTube or a Blog or whatever marks them down as some form of expert and hence ill informed opinions are validated.
For this reason if no other its important to help users find genuine independent advice and guidance - our helpline on 0800 269545 is one example and there are others, where ive seen bad advice I try to encourage people to use this website and make a call for advice - let us know if you see bad advice and we’ll try to balance that out and help users make informed decisions.
Of course equally tell them where to find us - if you find us helpful - spread the word

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