Exploring Blockchain and Digital Accessibility

If Blockchain is to become adopted by the masses, Accessibility is a must-have for Decentralized Applications and Blockchain Applications aiming to be game changers. 

Nathaniel Biddle – Steem Blockchain blog service
locks between linked items

There are so many ways blockchain technologies could perhaps support those with disabilities by enabling access to services online with increased security. The known blockchain technologies could provide access to safer banking but there are also possibilities such as secure messaging services for supporting services and internet ID systems so that CAPTCHAs are a thing of the past. Some have been looking at voting systems. “By capturing votes as transactions through blockchain, governments and voters would have a verifiable audit trail, ensuring no votes are changed or removed and no illegitimate votes are added.” (CBInsights June 2019) Extend the ideas secure certified documents to assessments and exams in schools, colleges and universities and it would be possible for more students to use their own assistive technologies and computers taking tests in a place of their choosing.

Medical records and personal details would be easier to share across countries and perhaps closer to home, even cross county or state boundaries! The travel through life with a secure personalised health, educational and employment passport or portfolio could become a reality. This would help to prevent the need to repeatedly communicate the same information to a myriad of gatekeepers servicing the wide range of facilities and resources available in most settings.

Let’s make AI Inclusive!

inclusion - group around two wheelchairs

It is time alternative formats for certified documents were ensured and Blockchain technologies could offer the potential to avoid the need for locked inaccessible formats. There have been digital accessibility standards for at least ten years such as the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and more recently a mandate such as EN 301 549 which covers procurement of ICT products and services in Europe. If developers do not adhere to these standards from the very beginning of the design process Blockchain will prove to be yet another barrier to ease of use and further prevent access to those who use assistive technologies.