World Braille Day
January 4th is half a week into the new year, but it is also the birthday of an amazing innovator, Louis Braille (1809-1852). As a child, he had an accident that caused him to lose his eyesight at the age of 15. He felt that the Haüy reading system, which consisted of heavy paper or leather embossed with Greek letters, lacked the depth and information that typical books for sighted people contained. Because of this, Louis Braille began to research an alternative to this system.
He learned of a method of communication called night writing, which was masterminded by a French Army Captain named Charles Barbier. Night writing was a series of dashes and dots embossed on paper; each letter of the French language had a corresponding dash and dot pattern. It was originally utilized by soldiers for the specific purpose of communicating information in the dark. Unfortunately, this technique was deemed too convoluted for any practical use. However, Louis Braille was able to simplify the existing night writing code and create the very first version of Braille.
The purpose of this day is not just to celebrate how far accessibility technology has evolved, but to remind us that we still have a great deal to learn in order to create a more accessible future. Much of day-to-day life is still not accessible to individuals with disabilities, but modern technology and innovation continues to bridge the gap between communication and knowledge for people of all abilities. Thanks to Louis Braille, we have came a long way from Greek letters embossed on leather to textbooks and holiday cards written in braille - but there is still a need to further the reach of accessibility for everyone. Together, by spreading awareness, the world will become a better place.
OMNICOMMANER is a web development and marketing firm specializing in ADA compliant web design with a passion for increasing public understanding of accessibility and accessible technology. OMNICOMMANDER has two blind employees, Aaron Hale and Jessica Moss, that review all websites prior to going live in order to ensure accessibility. Because many people with visual impairments utilize braille output devices while on the internet, this is a major problem for most of the blind and visually-impaired community. However, OMNICOMMANDER is actively working to pioneer a more accessible internet one website at a time. It is our hope that the internet can be accessible to anyone and everyone, regardless of the manner in which information is obtained, whether it is seen with the eyes, heard through the ears, or felt through the fingers.