London 2012 has been a big part of the summer in the UK. The Olympics inspired sport for all ages and the large number of bikes on the road suggest Wiggins, Cavendish and Froome have done a good job. After the Olympics came the Paralympics and its was big, bigger than any before and this brought about a change in the way we see disabilities and the people that cope with them. I went and watched the Paralympics in the stadium and it was brilliant. I saw blind people doing the triple jump and it was amazing. There were several blind events that I watched on TV most had guides for running or directing them on the jump. The relationship between the guide and competitor was amazing. In the running they were so together and worked as if they were one person. My wife said the guide must get huge job satisfaction from helping someone follow their dream, and I bet she’s right.
Today I saw a clip on channel 4, from a programme about the Paraorchestra. Lyn Levett has cerebral palsy. She used an iPad to make music and talk. She couldn’t use her hands on it because of her condition, so she did everything using her nose.
It made me think, we come up with ideas to help the commuter on his journey home or the help the husband remember his wedding anniversary. We come up with new ways to do things and new games to entertain us. These apps do bring in the money, but these apps are designed for mass markets and revenue. Don’t get me wrong I need money the same as everybody, developer or not. What about every once in a while doing an app that’s not mass market. Do an app that can make a select few people’s lives a bit easier and a bit more enjoyable. If the Paralympics has taught us anything it’s that under it all we are the same. I’m looking at building an app for dementia suffers to help people remember, it’s going to take time but it will be worth it, if it helps just one person.
I’ve rambled on a bit, but seeing Lyn made me think how good would it feel to make someone’s life better with an app designed for their needs or disability. I hope that this inspires other developers and companies to think about disabled users and someone suffering with an illness and think what they need and how they can help them.