My name is Nikki Dadlani. I’m 17 years old, and I volunteer as a Kindness Ambassador with Magical Bridge Foundation. The Kindness Ambassador Program trains teens passionate about inclusion to promote kindness both on and off the playground. Magical Bridge Foundation’s mission is to build innovative playgrounds and more inclusive communities, with a focus on accessibility for individuals with disabilities.

Individuals like me.

I was born blind. I’ve spent a good part of my life advocating for equal access for people with disabilities, especially young people with disabilities. Two years ago, when I became involved with the Foundation, I took on a special project to help make their innovative and inclusive playgrounds even more accessible. With my help, we worked on a design challenge to improve ‘wayfinding’ on the playground so people with limited or no vision, can find, access and play on the spinners, swings, and slides.

I’m proud of the work that continues to be done to make the physical world more inclusive for all. But in the digital world more can be done for equal access. While the tech community has made strides in digital accessibility, some digital spaces are still challenging to navigate. If accessibility is first in mind during the initial phases of digital design and development, the digital world would be more inclusive and accessible to more people. Digital accessibility shouldn’t be an afterthought.

Overwhelmingly, websites are created for the sighted community. When I go on a website as a blind individual, I rely on a screen reader to read information to me. If a site isn’t created with accessibility in mind, the assistive technology I use will not be able to read the site to me. I have to either depend on someone else and ask a sighted person for help, find the contact page and reach out to that company, or simply find an accessible site.

These days, we are more and more dependent on technology and access to digital content. We use the web for everything from shopping to staying connected with friends. And the fact is, my life would be so much easier if organizations focused on ensuring their websites are accessible for people like me. I would be able to do everything everyone else can do, without boundaries or limitations.

I’m proud to say the Magical Bridge Foundation is now tackling this issue of web accessibility, and they’ve found a like-minded partner in AudioEye. AudioEye is a web accessibility solution a provider that can quickly and easily make any digital content accessible for the disability community – whether someone is blind; has a motor disability; a cognitive disability or even someone autistic, dyslexic or epileptic.

I’m hopeful that as the tech community constantly evolves and improves, more digital spaces will become inclusive.

As a Kindness Ambassador for a nonprofit committed to inclusivity for all, I encourage you to learn more about web accessibility.  More inclusive communities include the online community. Not only will this commitment open the market to a wider array of people throughout the world, but it will also get us one giant step closer to truly achieving equal access for all.

 

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About Magical Bridge Foundation and Magical Bridge Playgrounds

In January 2016, Magical Bridge Foundation was formed to bring truly inclusive and innovative Magical Bridge Playgrounds to select Bay Area communities, including  Redwood City, Sunnyvale, Morgan Hill, and Mountain View. Magical Bridge Foundation, a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. EIN: 81-2377796