Bank robbers, future tech and the importance of inclusive design

On Tuesday I spoke at the excellent Beyond Tellerrand conference in Munich, Germany. I spoke about being lucky in 2018, bank robbers, the future of tech and the importance of inclusive design.

My talk was called 'From AI to robots, from apps to wearables - let's design for everyone, ok?' It covered a broad range of technology and how important it is to ensure that the tech of tomorrow is inclusive. If we get the design right it can be used by everyone, regardless of disability, impairment or environment.

The organisers have been swift in getting the video up online and I'd love for you to watch it.

From AI to robots, from apps to wearables – let’s design for everyone, OK? - Robin Christopherson - btconfMUC2018 from beyond tellerrand on Vimeo.

Bank robbers and lemonade

So where do luck and bank robbers fit in? Well you’ll just have to watch it for the full story (hot tip - it's right at the beginning) but one significant message I'd like people to take away is that, in large part, we make our own luck. Whether it’s being caught in the crossfire in a bank robbery, or something as every day (but still exasperating) as dropping your phone, how we choose to view that event can make all the difference to our day, our week, our lives.

When it comes to people with disabilities, you’ll find that they are often the most grateful and positive people you’d be lucky to meet. When life serves you lemons, often the best approach is to make lemonade.

Embrace inclusive design and give people a fighting chance to have a truly lucky 2018

One word that used to be used for describing people with a disability was ‘handicapped’. I actually quite like this term. The better the racehorse, the bigger the handicap (additional weight added to slow them down and level the field) and the better the golfer, the greater the number of shots added to his or her score at the start of a round.

sticks of celery

The thing is that no matter how good a golfer you are, if instead of your set of golf clubs you’re given a stick of celery instead, then even Tiger Woods wouldn’t make it past the first hole. There are some handicaps you just can’t get over however positive your outlook is.

The same is true of inaccessible design.

If you have a disability and a website, app or piece of software that you need to use for work, education or pleasure is not inclusive, then you’re stuck. You’re out of luck. Some things are out of our control.

If, however, you’re a designer or developer working on websites, apps or even robots or AI, then it’s completely within your power to make them inclusive and to help build a future for everyone.

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