When I contributed to the first Digital Inclusion Plan for the City of Philadelphia in 2005, we focused on under-served populations that were low-income, less educated, and older. That also led us to neighborhoods that were diverse, to immigrants, and people where English was not their primary language. This made sense. Most of the studies showed that these were the digital divides that isolated people and limited opportunities.
In 2007, when Emy Tseng and I drafted the Digital Inclusion Plan for the City of San Francisco, we added another plank – outreach and support for people with disabilities. I don’t think we knew how to close that divide and we knew that the data about access for people with disabilities was scant – but we understood that access to digital communications was critical and even life-changing for people with disabilities.
While I understood that there was a problem, Karen Peltz Strauss “knew not just what needed to be done, but how to get it done.” In honor of Karen Pelt Strauss’ last day at the FCC, another legend and stellar public servant, FCC Commissioner Michael Copps, penned a wonderful tribute for the Benton Foundation. Please enjoy Michael’s blog and take a minute to reflect on Karen’s work. More importantly, let’s all remember that when we move ahead with technical solutions, those solutions much engage, support, and be tested with members of the disability community. Universal design – or inclusive design – serves everyone.
Tuesday, January 8, 2019, Digital Beat, A Stellar Public Servant, by Michael Copps