I listened to the audiobook It’s Not What it Looks Like, by the vivacious, funny, positive (and oh yeah, blind) Molly Burke. She shared many things to laugh about, think through and be grateful for but one that has been rattling around in my brain was how much accommodations for disabilities end up benefitting many more people than just the disabled audience.

Examples she gave include curb cuts that benefit wheelchairs also assist people pushing strollers or carts; close captioning aids the deaf and also those who use it to learn a new language to read the words as they hear them; and voice activation benefits those with physical limitations as well as people with their hands full who can’t immediately dial a phone, etc.

The Social Model of Disability states that disabled people are hampered more by the barriers in society than by their physical limitations. Universal Access reduces those barriers and allows everyone to function equitably.

What can your organization do to provide usage enhancements for everyone? Examples could include alternate text for descriptions on your images, always using a microphone for presentations, or web versions of publications that allow for text enhancement or voiceovers.

Do your part to make your organization and its message accessible to all.

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