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Cover image for Why isn't our world more accessible?

Why isn't our world more accessible?

Ashlee (she/her)
Disabled Software Engineer and Web Accessibility Specialist helping people learn about accessibility
・Updated on ・1 min read

Next time you walk around some city streets, take a look around.

What's the sidewalk like? If it's made out of bricks, does it look very smooth or are probably half of them loose and uneven? When you come to an intersection, does the ramp to the crosswalk smoothly meet the street? And how about the street between sidewalks? Are there potholes or is the road nicely paved?

If there are stores and restaurants, are they at the ground level or is there a step or two or more to get inside? Are there buttons to activate the doors? When you're in the seating area, are there any booths or extra sets of tables that have steps to get to? If the restaurant has a patio, how much space is there outside of the railings surrounding that area? Is it large enough for a wheelchair going in one direction and a person walking in the other?

These are some of the thoughts that have gone through my head over the past few days. It's actually pretty appalling, the quality of some of our sidewalks and crosswalks. These are just the visible issues most people could see if they'd just stop and look.

Can you imagine what accessibility issues exist that aren't as visible?


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Discussion (4)

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tchaflich profile image
Thomas C. Haflich

The path I walk to work doesn't even have sidewalks over half of it.

When it comes to public walkways, part of it is probably car culture. Everybody assumes that nobody would be using them anyway, so they fall into disrepair.

When I had temporarily lost most of the use of one of my hands, I suddenly noticed how many doors were less accessible than before. Anything that requires grip (round handles) is much more of a pain than anything that mainly uses force as leverage. I also learned how to open child-proof pill bottles with only one hand, which is a skill I am inordinately proud of.

I'm going to go ahead and assume that every single object presents some daily annoyance to somebody if no attention is paid to its design.

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anpos231 profile image
anpos231

The world did not start as a place accessible to people with disabilities.
But because we are humans, and we are smart, we realised that we can do things to make this world a bit more forgiving to people with disabilities.

I'd say we need to spread the awareness, I know a lot of us are already doing it, but still too many people don't seem to know or realise how important that is.

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leoat12 profile image
Leonardo Teteo

I've been more aware of accessibility after taking lessons in college about accessibility in IT. I think we have been doing a great job at the digital world, but it is not always the same in the real world. When it comes to accessibility I always remember how the yellow security line on the subway here is always missing a tile or two and I think about what can happen with a visual impairment because of that. It is details that we must be aware of.

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scottishross profile image
Ross Henderson • Edited

I broke my leg earlier this year, and I'm still recovering. It's just absolutely insane how much you take walking for granted, as do businesses. The train station I use has two platforms with one entrance, meaning to get to the platform I need to walk up and down a 3-flight staircase bridge with absolutely no disability access!

Things are changing slowly, but I sometimes feel that it's the capitalist mindset that means disabilities aren't a leading thought for services. For the cost, there's not often enough return, in their mind.

But things are changing for the better. Slowly, but still!