Yes, people who are blind can be software engineers
July 27, 2023
Shani Murray, UC Irvine
Credit: UC Irvine
Ali Abdolrahmani, a parent with a visual disability and an ARC collaborator, uses a YouTube video to read with his daughter.
While conducting research into meeting accessibility for software engineers who are blind or low vision, the first problem Yoonha Cha encountered was a lack of awareness.
“I’ve talked to sighted software developers, and they’ve said, ‘I’m sorry, but software development is just something a blind person cannot do,’” says Cha, a Ph.D. student studying informatics at UC Irvine. (Watch developer Saqib Sheikh prove otherwise in this conference presentation.)
Kelly Dickenson encountered a similar problem when studying technology’s role in helping parents with a disability care for their children. “The biggest problem is other people’s attitudes,” says Dickenson, an informatics master’s student at UC Irvine. After observing YouTube videos created by parents who are blind or low vision, she found that they’re very effective “life hackers” when it comes to successfully navigating the world of parenting. “But they’re not viewed as caretakers,” she says. “I learned that in many states, a child can be taken away [...]