In the era of exclusivity, how can inclusivity survive and be attractive?
It’s time to change the rhetoric around accessibility and include accessibility in the wider framework of the world we live in.
We cannot talk about inclusivity in a society that promotes exclusivity as a status symbol and a value we need to reach.
In the age of wellness and eternal youth, none wants to acknowledge that sooner or later our physical and/or cognitive abilities will fade and we’ll become elder, eventually with some cognitive or physical impairment.
Today, ageing and the natural and biological transformations we are all subject to, are tabus: in a world where drugs and surgery can fake appearance and let us forget about time, it’s easy to forget that behind apparently smooth faces there is still an ageing body.
Our society rejects the thought of ageing, refuse to accept that we won’t be young forever, that technology cannot (yet) make us to stay young for ever.
How can then we convince such a society about the importance of accessibility and inclusivity?
As long as accessibility will be connected with concepts and ideas that society itself is refusing to face, accessibility itself will be something not worthy to be even mentioned.
Why should an exclusivity based society care for inclusivity?
As in the Plato’s cave myth, society today looks at the shadows refusing to look in the direction of the sun.
We don’t want to include everyone because we want to be part of an exclusive elite.
As long as the rhetoric around accessibility won’t acknowledge the deep fracture between how accessibility is now required by law, regulations and standards, and how those laws, regulations and standards are simply making accessibility’s perception even worse.
Slavery was not cancelled by laws: slavery was cancelled by enlightenment.
It’s culture that can change things, but in the culture of appearance and efficiency there’s no space to face our human decline.
We need a cultural revolution or new ways to embed accessibility into the cultural framework we live in.
The crude truth is that we need it to fulfil the mission our age is called to fill: as actors of the information age we won’t be able to progress until information is not democratic and fit for all.
It’s about information fitness for devices, people and cultures.
It’s the rise of information democracy, of a new way to think accessibility not as a mere right to access information for others, but as the opportunity to be part of the exclusive historical moment we are all sharing and shaping together.
It’s counterproductive to remember everyone that we will all be old and impaired one day – and it is unfair towards accessibility itself.
Accessibility does much more than this: it enables content, experiences, ideas to travel through time, devices, people and cultures.
It’s not anymore accessibility, it’s information democracy and experience: Accessibility is the boat that can take us, our thoughts, our experiences into the future, into space and time and open new dimensions.
Stop calling it accessibility.
Stop focusing on human rights in an a age that is ashamed to face its limits and thinks poor of human rights.
Stop believing that a law, a policy or a standard is a solution.
All this rhetoric has wasted too much time: in 15 years hundreds of people have repeated the same story over and over and not enough has changed.
It’s time to change the story and reveal the truth about accessibility: it’s the key to new opportunities and new dimensions. Don’t call it accessibility anymore, call it information experience.
In the experience economy, information experience is the new, exclusive approach to get timeless, eternal and let our thoughts survive us. It’s a different way to promote democracy of information in a society that has proved unable to care enough for democracy.
It’s time to change the storytelling around accessibility to try to change the state of the art and bring information to everyone, everywhere, anytime.