By Katie Ellis & Mike Kent
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Extra info for Disability and New Media
Disability issues, such as access to digital content, improve usability for the community in general (HREOC, 2000). The idea of universal access was integral to Berners-Lee’s original conception of the web. However, the platform has developed into a more complex and less-ordered environment that can stray from agreed standards (Edwards, 2008). iTunes comes with its own accessibility issues. Furendal (2007) demonstrated that its design has added utility for some impairments, notably dyslexia and colour blindness.
The iPad sold one million units in the first 28 days, less than half the time it took to sell that number of iPhones when it was launched in 2007. The device’s larger screen makes it potentially more useful than either of its two predecessors for people with a variety of impairments. These devices have been embraced as they enhance communications and accessibility for people with disability including those that affect manual dexterity and cognitive function who are able to gain better access through the larger touchscreen.
The UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities now describes cyberspace as equal to public space and encourages private entities and the media to make websites accessible to people with disability as a basic right (United Nations, 2006). In the United States, the Section 508 Amendment to the Rehabilitation Act 1973 was first introduced in 1986 in recognition of technological advancements in communications technologies. In 1998, it was amended in such a way as to allow for both the elimination of barriers and the encouragement of new and accessible technologies.