Feb 20, 2015

Taking Accessibility Over The
Rainbow

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What does a person who is blind "see" when they watch The Wizard of Oz™?

As someone who was born blind, I always thought of technology as a great equalizer.  And when I joined Comcast to focus on product accessibility, I was excited to explore how our services could open new doors to independence.

Now we’re hoping to spark an even bigger conversation about how people with disabilities enjoy entertainment through a national campaign called "Emily’s Oz."
 

Emily is a seven-year-old girl who has been blind since birth and her story is about what she sees when she watches her favorite movie, The Wizard of Oz™.  But the cool part is how we bring her vision to life in a way she’s never experienced before.  It’s an adorable and inspiring outcome – not because Emily happens to be blind, but rather because she is an independent, imaginative and charming young girl whose creative mind is infectious. 

I’ve been here for close to three years now and I feel like we’ve made progress on a number of fronts.  But watching this effort come to fruition and hearing how people are reacting, really leaves me speechless. 

I expect that when the rest of the country sees "Emily’s Oz" air this Sunday during the Academy Awards, they’ll never watch that movie the same way again. You can get a behind-the-scenes look at how we put it together here.

In a way, Emily’s story perfectly captures the reason we work so hard on developing accessible products and services: we want to create opportunities for people who love film and television, but who might not have the opportunity to experience it to its fullest.  With technology like the talking guide, we are helping to bridge that gap and make entertainment just as compelling, captivating and fun for people with a visual disability as it is for anyone else.

The work that went into telling Emily’s story has really galvanized my team and encouraged us all to pursue even bolder things.  From expanding the number of on demand movies and shows that include video description to helping those with a disability navigate their smart home and the Internet of Things, we’re still just scratching the surface of what’s possible in the accessibility space.

So stay tuned, I can’t wait to show you what’s next.

Tags : Accessibility, Comcast Accessibility Lab, Emily's Oz, Talking Guide, Voice Guidance, X1 Platform

 
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