Without Sight, a Visionary Leader
Chieko Asakawa connects disabled users to the Web
Often, accessibility efforts end up benefiting disabled and nondisabled users alike. Asakawa offers the work of Alexander Graham Bell as an example. The inventor, whose mother and wife were deaf, was inspired to study the nature of sound, ultimately inventing the telephone. “And voice-recognition technology was initially developed to assist people with disabilities, but it has become a technology that can be used for various purposes,” Asakawa says. Immediate examples of populations that might benefit from Asakawa’s work are illiterate people, particularly in emerging economies with mobile phone penetration, and the elderly, which Asakawa points out is a fast-growing segment.
To help reach those users, IBM researchers in Tokyo and India are collaborating with institutions in both locations to create an open, common mobile-Web-device UI platform with disadvantaged people in mind.
“I strongly believe that current accessibility technologists will change our everyday life in the future,” she says.
To see Tottori Prefecture’s Web accessibility cloud center, watch this IBM video:
More information about IBM’s accessibility strides is online as part of its centennial Icons of Progress series: