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For People With Disabilities, Accessibility Tech's Still Not All It Could Be

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person with white cane in a crosswalk

Several tech giants banded together last year to launch an accessibility program.

Erin Lauridsen, who is blind, uses an iPhone XR along with free or low-cost accessibility apps from the App Store, to check her calendar, send emails, and follow maps. These digital tools are much more convenient and affordable than the standalone devices, such as PDAs and pocket computers, that blind people had to lug around in the past.

Technology has become more accessible to people with disabilities, who make up around 15% of the global population. In a world where activities from shopping to communication take place online, digital accessibility is critical. Without it, many people can't carry out everyday tasks.

Americans with disabilities are nearly three times as likely to never go online and around 20% less likely to own a computer, smartphone, or tablet, according to Pew Research Center. Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), held this year on May 16, aims to raise awareness of those kinds of issues and promote digital accessibility and inclusion.

While companies have made accessibility more of a priority, Jennison Asuncion, GAAD co-founder and engineering manager for accessibility at LinkedIn, says there's more work to be done.

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