Friday, November 28, 2014

Virtual Ability: Accessibility For the Disabled

By Wesley Regenbogen

We sometimes don’t realize it, but there are people with disabilities in real life. They have a presence with Second Life as well. With that said, this means that over 15%, but closer to 20 % of the Second Life residents have a disability in real life. This means that 1 out of 5 avatars you encounter in Second Life has a disability in real life. That’s no small number. There are places to visit for Second Life residents with disabilities, such as Cape Able, Cape Serenity, Health Info Island and there are residential areas. But one special place for them in Second Life is Virtual Ability Island.
Virtual Ability Island was made by Gentle Heron and two friends of hers. But there are other places to visit as well: Cape Able, Cape Serenity, Health Info Island and there are residential areas for Second Life residents with disabilities. It was established in June 2007, seven years ago. 
There is a Virtual Ability group in Second Life with community events and there is a Google Calendar, which can be viewed in-world. Eme Capalini leads the Design/Build team of Virtual Ability Island. She wanted to make the island fully accessible and she did a very good job making that possible. Their website gives readers more information about the Virtual Ability Island.
What’s special about this place? Gentle Heron said this about it: “Our community welcomes people with all kinds of chronic illnesses and disabilities (physical, mental, emotional, developmental, and sensory) and helps them use the virtual world. We have been able to adapt all types of assistive technology that people use to access their computers to interface with Second Life.”
Able bodies don’t always think about how many skills they use in their everyday lives. But if you are recovering from a stroke or a traumatic brain injury or assisting a family member or a friend in that situation, then you suddenly realize just how many skills need to be re-learned.
In my personal opinion, this place is a nice place to learn more about disabilities, and realizing that there are Second Life residents who have a disability in real life. Either they are in a wheelchair, they are blind, or they have another disability. This makes you realize that there are many people with disabilities in both, the virtual worlds and in real life.
I find this project a very nice one, which offers many possibilities and high potential.
You can find the mentioned places :
Virtual Ability Island :
Cape Able :
Cape Serenity :
HealthInfo Island :

Wesley Regenbogen

No comments:

Post a Comment