Tech has often lagged behind when it comes to accessibility.
But thankfully more companies are stepping up and working to make our products and platforms more accessible to everyone.
Today I have taught you how to leave Was an activist model and actress she’s appeared in an Apple ad campaign for accessible tech and use this for social media platforms to discuss all the issues that still exist.
Tatiana, is going to talk to us about how tech has progressively become more inclusive to people with disabilities and all the work that still needs to We’ll be done.
Tatiana, thank you so much for being with us today.
Thank you so much for having me.
I’m so excited to have this conversation.
I wanna start off by asking you.
You were kind of a pioneer and force in the acting world and in the modeling world.
Can you explain Explain to us, the disability that you have?
So I was born with a birth defect called spina bifida, which basically means I was born with a hole in my spine.
And I’m paralyzed from the waist down.
So I use a wheelchair to move around.
And it also resulted in a lot of different learning disabilities.
I also have ADHD.
I have dyscalculia.
And I have dyslexia.
So those are disabilities that I have that are a result of my spinal bifida and it has affected pretty much Every aspect of my life from education to accessibility, to employment, and so many other avenues including my acting career.
Right, and how did you get into acting and modeling?
So I always wanted to act a model since I was seven years old.
That was kind of.
thing I was into I spent a lot of time in the hospital as a kid with a disability and so I consumed a lot of print ads and magazines and TV and film and I didn’t see myself reflected in any of it.
I didn’t see people with disabilities.
I Rarely saw women of colour and so to not see any of that shapes, how you view the world.
It makes you feel like you’re viewing the world from the outside looking in.
I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania and in 2010 I hopped on a plane and I moved to LA to pursue my career to kind of just see what happened.
And I was just taking a leap of faith and Throughout my childhood in my life, people told me that being an actor and a model was something I couldn’t do because, Hollywood has this idea of what perfection is.
And I didn’t fit that ideal of perfection.
I would go to networking events to try to meet the right people and I physically literally cannot get into the room.
Most places weren’t wheelchair accessible.
So that was a major barrier.
How can I network with the right people if I physically cannot get into the room, I noticed that people who weren’t a part of the disability community didn’t realise that people like myself wanted to be involved in the industry.
And that is There were physical barriers to entry or to be included.
And that was kind of how my activism started.
And I just started, like you said, using my social media platform to talk about all of these issues, talking about the lack of accessibility.
The lack of people like myself in the room to Have these conversations with people.
And so it rolls into so much more just me gaining notoriety based on I was blogging about it, I created a blog called accessible Hollywood dot com, and based on the blog and just me posting my own photos on Instagram.
And also Talking about the lack of accessibility led to just gaining momentum in my career.>> What are some examples of some apps that really stand out to you or some platforms that really stand out to you that have made a significant amount of progress in the past few years?
Instagram is doing a little bit better.
They, have now a feature where you can do, what we call image description.
So for a person that is blind, they can’t necessarily consume the information that.
is being seen on apps like Instagram.
So there’s something called image description where you have to embed a description of what the photo is what’s depicted in the photo, and that helps someone who is blind use their screen reader.
So then tell you what is going on in the photo, so that they can consume the content.
I know Instagram has implemented that.
So that’s great.
They now have automatic captions added to their IETV, which I think is a huge step.
I still would love to see them have.
Automatic caption within their Insta story because now when I wanna talk on my Insta story I have to record the video separately and play it into a different app, have the captions uploaded and then add it into my Insta story.
So then therefore my Followers who are deaf can consume the content.
So it just ends up being all these extra steps and I would love for it to be seamless.
Another platform that I think, that has done really great with accessibility is Facebook.
Facebook has, they add automatic image description into their photos.
Sometimes you have to add a little extra information and you got to go in and set up the accessibility features and things like that.
But I think things like that are very.
Are very groundbreaking because a lot of people aren’t thinking about adding image description into their photos, but it should be top of mind because you are leaving out a huge group of people who are not consuming that content.
And just to.
Bring context people with disabilities we make up 25%, 20 to 25% of the population.
So that is 20 to 25% of people who are not consuming your content because you aren’t taking those extra steps to be accessible.
So yeah, there’s so many different platforms.
Twitter’s doing a little bit better with their image descriptions and things like that.
Apple has another app called clips, which is my favorite app to use to implement my captions onto my videos.
So, yeah, those are some things that I think are really, really great and are adding to making social media a more accessible place.
The Americans with disabilities act was passed 30 years ago.
And at the time, the internet, wasn’t what it is today.
But that has rapidly changed and technology has become.
It’s such a critical part of our lives.
And you you’ve already mentioned kind of the importance of tech accessibility especially with the covid 19 pandemic.
How do we ensure that these platforms these digital platforms are more accessible, especially given how critical that is today Companies need to talk with people with disabilities.
You need to engage the community, because how can someone that does not live the experience design something for someone else.
You need to understand What it means to navigate the world as someone who is blind, as someone who is deaf, as someone who is a wheelchair user.
And so I think that’s where companies need to start.
And it starts with, first of all hiring people with disabilities and not just talking with them and picking their brain For free.
First of all, you need to hire them as consultants, hire them as employees and have them a part of your team.
And, actually there’s a study that was done by Accenture and it actually shows that people, that companies that hire people with disabilities have a 70%.
higher profit margin.
And, and so that is a statistic to think about.
And not only that the employment rate of people with disabilities is very low.
People with disabilities are Twice as likely to be unemployed and people who are non disabled.
And so one of the things to think about is hiring qualified people with disabilities to be on your team.
And that doesn’t mean qualified as in possibly having those degree qualifications that a lot of people.
Expect you to have now if it’s a position where the degree is worth, you know, consider for the job like an accountant or something like that you need to know a lot of math and things like that.
But if it’s something that that person has that lived experience and can do the work in other manners, still consider hiring them.
Only 7% of people born with their disability.
And so that is a barrier to think about.
So most of the people that you’re looking for haven’t even completed college at no fault of their own because the school system is also not made accessible to people with disabilities and the lack of support There’s a lack of support in the school system.
And so those are things to think about but definitely back to your point hiring people with disabilities and paying them too.
Help the content and check out the platforms and ask and figure out what is needed from their point of view.
I always tell people and this is something that also happens in Hollywood.
It’s kind of like, The white man or a white person trying to tell the story of the lived experience of what it means to be black or what it means to be Muslim or what it means to come from the LGBTQ community.
You can’t do that you can understand from the outside from what you see, but it’s always going to be from your point of view.
It’s not going to be genuinely what the people from the disability community really need.
So you need to do what you can to really engage them.
Source by www.cnet.com