screen reader user myth: screen reader users are early adopters—a thread
Screen reader users are sometimes presumed to have the latest and greatest tech. Though in some instances this would be ideal, unfortunately it's far from the truth. 2/
1. tech is expensive. As new hardware is developed, dependencies are, too. This hardware usually costs $$$ and usually not casual dollars. Add on the exorbitant cost of access tech due to supply/demand and glorious capitalism, and the $$$ becomes situationally uncomfortable. 3/
Consider a laptop at $1,500-$2,,000, software between 1,000-3,000, a braille display $5,000-$10,000...and the costs could continue to rise (All $ US). 4/
Pause for a moment. Reflect on the costs. Now, consider that prepandemic, the unemployment and underemployment rates for disabled persons hovered anywhere between 70-83% depending on what data one uses. 400,000 persons receiving sub minimum wages. 5/
The question of access becomes one of access to information V. basic needs. "Do I eat, or do I purchase tech." If one is living on SSI—$785 a month or so, this question is further compounded. 6/
2. Outside of the cost question is one of skills gap. That is, many screen reader users don't have access to good, comprehensive training. Someone may get some training, but good chances are trainers don't know how to use the tool themselves and don't teach problem-solving 7/
skills. With the rampent ableism, learned helplessness, lack of critical analysis in education, and ever evolving tech, if problem-solving skills aren't developed, people can't expect to thrive—disabled or non-disabled. That's my opinion. 8/
People love familiarity and comfort. We gravitate to habbits and consistency. Stepping out of our comfort zone sucks—it's uncomfortable. The same is true, here. If I learned how to use a tech a decade ago, and it works for me, whz change? Which learn something new. 9/
Chances are it's probably not going to work anyway, I'd have to be taught how to use it, and it's different. "no thanks." 10/
3. Bugs, bugs, and more bugs. Sadly, equal access is seen as a feature request by many, and thus shifting from dev to prod often has no requirements for actually working for all persons. "If it works for some, good enough. We'll fix later." 11/
Some bugs may be a minor Inconvenience for some, and a complete showstopper for others. Taking that chance is never worthwhile. And, unfortunately, too often reality. 12/
4. Finally, often access to access tech is dependent on outside forces. Vocational rehabilitation, and employer, charity organization, educational institution… The list goes on. If the value of upgrading is not clear; users may or may not be able to use it effectively; 13/
the tech may not work; no one can teach the user to use it, and the user isn't confident in the ability to self-teach...why shell out the cash? What's the point? Well, not to be ableist, maybe... 14/
Bottom line, never assume your users are rocking the latest and greatest, not even if it's free. Too many factors intersect; to many dependencies; too much ableism and exclusion and reality, says otherwise. /end

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