I don’t think I will ever stop being amazed by what I can do from my computer. I can research just about any project I desire, enjoy countless arts and communicate to the world if I so desire. But, what would I do if someday computers became inaccessible to me? In my case, I’d probably protest in front of my nearest congressmen and hope that something changes quickly before I miss the next episode of the Big Bang Theory.
But for one young blind man in China, at a time when screen reading software was limited, it all changed when he took matters into his own hands. Proving that “Necessity is the mother of all invention”, Cai Yongbin created PC Secretary to help him read the news, enjoy social media sites and play games on the internet. MR. Cai learned to code by memorizing the computer language as it was spoken to him. Its been over 7 years now since MR. Cai first coded PC Secretary for himself. Since then it has evolved to help China’s 12 million blind and low-vision computer users. MR. Cai has begun coding an android version of PC secretary in April of this year and is now working for the Information Accessibility Research Association in Shenzhen. Additionally, he helps major Chinese companies like Alibaba ensure that their sites are accessible to the blind.
Quite a bit has changed in the seven years since MR. Cai first coded his program. Major computer and internet companies continue to embrace the importance of accessibility in their apps and user interfaces. Hopefully, I won’t lose the ability to accessibly stream the Big Bang Theory any time soon. However, if I do, I’m glad to know that there are individuals out there that continue to push accessibility for all on the internet.