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Re: [WebAIM] Elderly and self identification as having a disability

From: Phill Jenkins <pjenkins@us.ibm.com>
Date: Tue, 24 May 2016 19:24:03 -0500
To: WAI-IG <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>, WebAIM Discussion List <webaim-forum@list.webaim.org>
Message-Id: <20160525002409.15C7D78038@b03ledav004.gho.boulder.ibm.com>
David wrote: ". . . The WAI-AGE project researched the overlap between web 
accessibility for people with disabilities and web accessibility for older 
adults, and the literature review has some very useful links (a few years 
old now).

Few years? I round up and call it a "decade old"! 
We need more current research, especially in light of the "tech-savvy" 
aging baby boomers, the advent of the smart phone (June 9, 2008, Apple 
announced the iPhone 3G), mobile computing, Internet of Things, and now 
the era of cognitive computing (AI).  A lot has happened in the last 

I have a lot of anecdotal data and I hear things like "this may be for the 
following reasons.", "they may not self identify for", etc. Too many 
"may's" in the statements, and the "they's" are a decade older now. 

Some newer references:
        The Cheapest Generation 
        Administration on Aging (AoA)
        People 65+ represented 14.1% of the population in the year 2013 
but are expected to grow to be 21.7% of the population by 2040. 

        35% of transactions are lost purely on low success rate of online 
        looking for reference

So, I'm going to be a little radical (in the context of this thread) and 
ask a couple questions: 
        1. why do we care if the elderly (aged 65+) consider themselves as 
having a disability or not? Accessibility is not only about disability.
        2. why do we care if the mobile device users who experience 
barriers do not consider themselves as having a disability or not? 
Accessibility is not only about disability. 

Fundamentally, accessibility MUST include success criteria that enable 
persons who self identify as having a disability to be able to use it. The 
accessibility industry's job - our job - is to insure the success criteria 
is correct.  But accessibility enables so much more that we need to lead 
and drive the larger business justification without abandoning the very 
persons who cannot be left behind. Unfortunately, disability and 
compliance focus will only continue to lead to one-off minimal compliance.
Phill Jenkins, 
Senior Engineer & Business Development Executive
IBM Research - IBM Accessibility
Received on Wednesday, 25 May 2016 00:24:43 UTC

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