There’s hope for the future
These are troubled times. Unfortunately, the media seems only to be able to cope with one big question at a time, so when the debates circle around EU migrants, terrorist threats, war and refugees, persons with disabilities fall off the radar.
Susanna LaurinTitle: Chief Research and Innovation Officer
It would be intellectually dishonest to compare misfortune with misery. But there is a tendency in society to forget issues that are not at the top of the agenda. And persons with disabilities are rarely in the top stories. Most of us recognize that there is a limited amount of resources around, so when many groups fight over the same pennies, someone will have to prioritize. This is when it becomes scary for real.
Sweden is a rich country, the Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson says that personal assistance services is an area where Sweden need to save money to cope with increased costs for refugees coming to Sweden. No journalist points out that personal assistance means the right to a dignified life - something we should be proud of offering and something I definitely think it's worth fighting to keep.
Regardless of the economic situation, the proportion of persons with disabilities outside the labor market is usually constant (high). Few economists present what society gains when persons with disabilities develop from being beneficiaries to become taxpayers. Instead, many focus on the cost of increased accessibility, but it is rather to be seen as an investment for the future. Even if one disregards what it means for each individual concerned.
There is hope
At the same time, there is some fantastic development going on in the technical arena. Smart solutions, new innovations and interesting research findings make everyday exciting and positive. More and more private companies, not only public authorities, are becoming aware of accessibility. Sweden has for the first time a major authority who says publicly they want to be the most accessible in public sector.
A lot of things are happening when it comes to legislation, policy work and standardization in many parts of the world. We notice it not least in our international assignments. It feels as if much of what we have been fighting for during many years is slowly becoming a reality.
To all of you who manage to keep more than one thought active at the same time and realize that we can not stop caring about persons with disabilities when the world is on fire: Thank you for helping us to create a better world for all of us humans with functional variations. It will continue to be needed.
Related chronicles by Susanna Laurin
6 May 2019
Sometimes progress is hard to spot if you are in the middle of the whole thing. It might be useful to take a step back and reflect on all the different things going on in our business. The evolution is quite impressive, says Funka's Research and Innovation Officer.
7 February 2019
Funka's CEO Susanna Laurin reports from a debate in the European Parliament and international standardization that deals with the inclusion of elderly in IT development.
29 November 2018
Another year of accessibility work is coming to an end. Funkas’ Susanna Laurin writes about the importance of positive feedback and the need to give appreciation to those who do the right thing.
14 August 2018
Monitoring and possible fines can be a driving force for accessibility. But at the same time, threats can mean that services are taken down. How do we make sure that legislation increases accessibility?
29 May 2018
Funka's Susanna Laurin sees similarities between working with accessibility and taking care of a wooden boat. Both activities require patience and the results can make many people happy.
5 December 2017
The International Day of Disabled Persons keeps us busy in all our markets. This year we contribute to the Inclusion Days program in Berlin, Germany.
8 November 2017
A judicial precedent now allows for a tighter interpretation of the Swedish law on support and services for certain disabled people. This may mean that many people lose their right to personal assistance. Do we really want people to be denied a worthy life on equal terms with others?
12 June 2017
As the sun glistens in the ocean, the birds wake me up in the early mornings and life gets a little easier once sunshine and warm weather turn our latitudes into paradise, a report on digitization makes me even more happy.
6 March 2017
We are always interested in what is going on in our market. When two conferences on accessibility, gaming and assistive technology happens in the same week, the agenda is filling up.
7 February 2017
Funka’s Susanna Laurin reports from an EU conference on accessibility and legislation in Brussels. The focus is, as usual, on the economy.
6 January 2017
Two of our very competent consultants have tried their wings with our clients and then chosen to come back to Funka. Naturally, we're very excited and we've asked Oskar and Karin to tell us a little bit about their experiences.
8 December 2016
Funka’s Susanna Laurin ponders what we celebrate on the international day of persons with disabilities. Accessibility seems - more than ever - a moving target.
4 July 2016
Funka’s Susanna Laurin is reporting on an exciting meeting of experts from all over the world, at the US Access Board in Washington.
17 June 2016
The French association for the visually impaired, BrailleNet, arrange an annual conference on digital accessibility. The theme for the 2016 edition was the internet of things. Funka’s own Susanna Laurin is reporting from the conference.
10 March 2016
An unsettling trend is happening in the U.S.: by using legislation as a battering ram lawyers are making money, but inaccessibility persist.
11 September 2015
Funka’s CEO Susanna Laurin reflects on cultural differences between Spain and Sweden, personal integrity and how badly things can get, even when you try your hardest to do the right thing.
18 June 2015
Funka’s Susanna Laurin considers trends in accessibility and the fact that we no longer have much time to reflect.
18 March 2015
Different safety and technology aspects are being brought up as arguments against e-voting, but these problems must be possible to overcome. Funka's Susanna Laurin takes some time to reflect upon the democratic perspective of e-voting and today's broad lack of accessibility.
29 October 2014
Funka’s Susanna Laurin questions why accessibility and user experience experts are so eager to talk to people with similar opinions. Would it not be better to let different views and opinions meet to bring about change?
19 June 2014
We look back at a hectic period and look forward to even more work. But first of all, we will enjoy the summer holidays.
25 February 2014
Funka’s Susanna Laurin rejoices in the fact that design for all really works in our everyday life.
20 December 2013
Susanna Laurin, Funka, sums up a busy year. A year of continued growth, continued expansion in Norway and a new office in Madrid.
25 October 2013
It is leaning towards legislation on web accessibility in the EU. Funka's Susanna Laurin takes a closer look at what the guidelines that almost everyone is pointing towards actually entail for the users.