I love assistive technology!
I have dodgy knees. Very dodgy, sadly. I have flat feet and did not start to wear corrective insoles until I was in my late 30s. This meant that my weight went through my knees unevenly and wore away the cartilage, meaning there is almost none on the insides. Grade 4 Osteoarthritis, bone on bone. Ouch.
How do I manage them?
As I am now over 50, I can get a partial knee replacement on our wonderful NHS and, as my right knee is in serious danger of going altogether, it will be done very soon. The pain levels are high but I manage it with a combo of painkillers and CBD oil. I get up at 5am during the week, not because I am a masochist, but I need to fit in my exercises, which include a lot of stretching. This allows me to go for a 30-minute walk and I do the same at the end of the day.
I also have these amazing knee splints. They literally turn my kneecap back into the correct position when my legs are straight. I may look like Robocop from the waist-down (and tend to avoid wearing spandex obviously) but it helps me walk for longer and stand for longer with less pain.
Assistive technology, real and virtual!
This is assistive technology. It doesn’t make my pain go away but it helps, and it allows me to keep fit and active.
My amazing website accessibility testing team (Mede, Iona and Sara) use assistive technology every time they use the Web. Whether it is a screen reader (which reads out the content of a website using computerised speech), dictation software (allowing a user to speak commands instead of using a mouse or keyboard) or dark mode (which is a browser plugin that allows the user to overlay a different contrast), they all have one thing in common. They help. They don’t make everything as easy as it is for the vast majority of people who just use the Web without giving it a second thought, but they help.
Please do it properly!
However, if your website is not coded properly, assistive technology doesn’t help. It would be like me having to put on my knee splints upside down. It would not help.
The information you need to code your website has been available since 1999, there is no secret. Please make your website accessible for disabled people. You will find that everyone benefits from it.
Would you like to learn more?
If you are interested in a free initial review of the accessibility of your website, why not book yourself in for a consultation?
Please follow this link to do so:
Access by Design. Accessible Websites, Beautifully Designed.
Outstanding Website Accessibility Audits
Award-winning web design, Chichester.