In the IT world, I think there are basically four philosophies
- The vegetarian: Owns an Apple because they are shiny and healthy
- The carnivore: Owns a Windows PC because they can be taken apart, ground up and eaten with a bit of mustard
- The omnivore: Owns an iPad, Android phone, Windows desktop and Macbook and consumes them all simultaneously
- The vegan: Lives on Linux alone
Of course this is an exceedingly inappropriate stereotypical and mostly useless typology, but the point is that persons who love technology typically have very strong feelings about its purpose, function and role in their life. Sure there are cases of ambivalence, but people who are passionate about technology can usually find one faction or another to ally themselves with.
Where this breaks down is with accessible technology. I’m remiss to say that people aren’t passionate about accessible technology, but I’ve yet to see an online forum that captures the vindication, dogmatism and zealousness that is sometimes seen on technology blogs and user forums. Now granted, this may be a good thing since creating accessible technology is something of a collaborative effort, bringing in people who create the technology, people that use the technology, and people that would like to use the technology.
Now this limited passion approach for creating accessible technology may be due to the lack of a villain. There’s no one touting the awesomeness of inaccessible or unusable technology. There’s no one saying “Hey check out my new phone, it took me six weeks and I had to read the entire 4,682 page manual to figure out how to make a phone call!” In fact, I think most technology producers are aware of accessibility, especially in terms of usability. But I think what’s missing is the rivalry, or the belief that my technology is better than yours because EVERYONE can use it. And perhaps that’s why Apple has become a leader in this field, because part of their belief structure revolves around using elegant solutions to solve complex problems. It just happens that those solutions are in the form of accessible computers and phones.
Note: this post was inspired at least partially by the presentation by Simon Sinek for TED