OPINION: Does Technology Provide Accessibility for All?

Seniors, those with disabilities often being left behind
Author of the article:Gene Monin
Publishing date:Mar 28, 2022

Many seniors and disabled people have not adapted well to technology, and often find themselves left out.

Is technology ignoring the needs of seniors and people with disabilities to access the same services as the majority?

Are the changes in methods of serving customers violating their personal human rights?

Have seniors and people with disabilities ever been consulted by the designers prior to introduction of these technologies?

I doubt it, since field testing of new products today is often done by foisting them on an unsuspecting public to work out the bugs in the race to be first in the market..

As an aside, fortunately the COVID vaccines worked out reasonably well as the need was so vital that testing was shortened.

Despite federal and provincial laws mandating accessibility as a basic human right, the juggernaut of technology omitted those who have few to advocate for them in accessibility issues.

These technology advances are aimed at the younger generation who have been raised with the Internet.

Many changes were designed to replace human-to-human interaction with machine to human interaction. The days of a human answering the phone are replaced by the annoying Press One for , Press Two for

Older people find the choices confusing or presented too quickly for comprehension.

How does a deaf person or new Canadian struggling with a new language handle these choices?

Here are a few examples.

City transit services brought out an on-demand bus service for riders to call and book an appointment for pickup at a stop of their choice, an obvious advantage.

A friend with no cellphone attempted to board an on-demand bus, while carrying three full grocery bags. He has mobility issues on top of diminished mental capacities.

The driver refused to board him since he had not called for a pickup. I dont know if the bus was full (they rarely are).

The technology did not consider people without a cellphone.

Automated checkouts replace cashiers. These machines require some ability to operate, and usually only accept credit or debit. Many older people trust cash only.

Seniors and people with disabilities are unable or unwilling to adjust to handle technology for fear of being scammed or electronic fraud.

Many dont have a credit history or a companion to assist them in using these machines.

More and more offers and contests require a computer to access the website.

Tim Hortons replaced the popular Roll Up The Rim with an app for a smart phone, way beyond the ken and pocketbooks of people who live on the fringe of society or have disabilities.

Again they miss out on the offers plus the fun of the old Roll Ups.

The push is for less paper billing and more online billing and banking.

Again, many people dont trust technology and hear of mighty corporations and helpless consumers being hacked. They trust only paper bills.

The utilities bill is now so complicated with categories that no one understands them.

If you feel your rights have been ignored, file a complaint to a human rights office.

Reach Gene Monin at adios43@yahoo.com

Original at https://www.saultstar.com/opinion/opinion-does-technology-provide-accessibility-for-all