Breaking Barriers

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Breaking barriers Rakesh works with the help of the screen reader as Sriram Bharatam looks on
Did you know that the humble typewriter, the computer keyboard and the keys on your mobile phone are friendly to the visually challenged? Take a look at the raised projections on the letters F and J on your keyboard. By placing your index fingers on these letters, you can type without looking at the keys. Number 5 on your phone has a similar projection that helps you dial the numbers with ease. Sriram Bharatam, CEO and Founder, Iridium Interactive, reminds us, “The typewriter was originally meant to help the visually challenged.” Remember Amitabh Bachchan pushing Rani Mukherjee to speed up her typing skills to pass her examinations in “Black”?
Visually challenged software engineers are part of the workforce at Sriram’s firm — Iridium Interactive, which works towards making web pages accessible. Accessibility is more than making a website compatible to users grappling with bandwidth restrictions. It’s about making the pages friendly to the blind.
We spot Rakesh Paladugula, one of the visually challenged software engineers in the firm, trying to book railway tickets online. Aided with screen-reader software that reads out the contents of web pages, Rakesh usually works at a pace that makes his other colleagues work harder. “I was diagnosed with Retina Pigmentosa as a child and lost my eyesight during my graduation,” he recalls. Trained by Enable India, a Bangalore-based NGO, Rakesh fine-tuned his skill sets. At Iridium, he conducts training sessions during the weekends. The firm has more professionals like him taking on varied tasks — from conducting training sessions to interacting with the US clientele.


  © Blogger templates Newspaper by 2008

Back to TOP