We need to talk about Accessibility on Chatbots
Caio Calado

Caio Calado I wanted to share something that really hit home with me. I’m a Software Developer at the Guardian and over the last few months we have built out a Guardian news skill (https://www.theguardian.com/help/insideguardian/2016/sep/28/introducing-the-guardian-skill-for-alexa) for the Amazon Alexa. After a couple of months of it being publicly available my team received the following email:

“Good afternoon

I really need this message to get out to all of those who have gone to the trouble of creating the Guardian app for the Alexa.

I am quadriplegic and the Amazon Echo has transformed my life. I haven’t been able to open a newspaper for 10 years, but now I can!!

Most especially my ability to open the Guardian, read sections that interest me, listen to podcasts, reviews and news updates.

Please pass this email on to all of those concerned at the Guardian… They need-to-know the difference that they have made!

Keep up the good work”

I really cannot echo the sentiment of this post more. This is firsthand proof that thinking about technology and the products we build in an accessible way for all can dramatically improve the quality of life for some consumers of it. I know for my team and I there can be no greater justification of our work than that.