There’s a new social media platform in town and it aims to facilitate connections between disabled people. “My Disability Matters” was created by Tasmanian man Dale Reardon, who was increasingly frustrated by the accessibility issues he encountered with mainstream social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
The issue of accessibility with social media
The virtual space online has enabled many disabled people to connect with friends and family via the internet, and can be a much-needed lifeline to accessing vital information and forming the sort of interpersonal relationships that help combat loneliness and isolation. Social media in particular has become an important part of everyone’s life, but the design of the sites often make it difficult for people with disabilities.
A new community for making connections
Dale has been blind for nearly 30 years and was increasingly frustrated by his attempts to navigate Facebook. Seeing this challenge as an opportunity, he created the new website “My Disability Matters”, with accessibility as its central ethos. The platform is not just for people with disabilities: friends, families, carers and associated businesses are also welcome to join. Thanks to thoughtful design, making personal connections has become easier than ever for disabled people online.
The virtual space designed for all abilities
With accessibility at the forefront of its design, the site makes it easy to customise font sizes and adjust the contrast on the screen in order to enhance visibility. It is even possible to convert the site to greyscale to help those who have different vision needs. The simple layout and helpful descriptors make the space even easier to navigate, and it also works well with vision impairment assistance software.
From little things big things grow
At present the site has around 400 users, but numbers continue to grow as word gets out. With forums, blogs, email facilities, news and articles, “My Disability Matters” is an invaluable space for disabled people to connect and share their experiences with others, in a safe and accessible space that is sensitive to their needs. Their catchphrase? “Nothing about us, without us”.