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I Made A Thing! “36 Seconds that Changed Everything: How the iPhone Learned to Talk”

Posted in Access and Disability, Announcements, New Media and Tech, and Podcasting

I’m thrilled to announce the release of my audio documentary, “36 Seconds that Changed Everything: How the iPhone Learned to Talk.” It’s the story of how accessibility features came to the iPhone in 2009, how that event rocked some people’s world, and how most didn’t even notice.

You can listen to the documentary or read a transcript at the web site I made (it looks remarkably like this one, I know, but an accessible theme is an accessible theme), so I thought that here, I’d write a bit about why I produced it. Oh, you can also hear the documentary as a podcast.

If you keep track of both the mainstream tech world, and follow accessibility tech, it can be easy to fall into a kind of inferiority complex. So much of what is fundamental about accessibility is entirely unknown or unremarked upon in the mainstream tech universe. When was the last time you read a “comprehensive” platform review that included accessibility features?

What the mainstream wants to do is turn accessibility into a noble, inspiring, human interest story. At worst, the effect is to make the clueless storytellers feel better about themselves for caring or raising awareness. At best, maybe a programmer somewhere says to h/herself “hey, maybe I ought to label those buttons in my app.” So yeah, I wanted to tell a story that no one had, and to tell it on my own terms.

I also wanted to flex my radio producer muscles, unconstrained by, well, anything other than my own imagination and budget. I know a lot more today about my strengths as a producer, and where I still have things to learn. And that’s been a wonderful creative revelation. 

I hope you like “36 Seconds.” I’m still adding bonus material, and the next post on this blog should be promoting a very cool companion project to the documentary. 

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