Accessibility pro Austin Seraphin on what sighted folks get wrong about those with visual impairments - Generocity Philly

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Apr. 24, 2018 6:23 am

Accessibility pro Austin Seraphin on what sighted folks get wrong about those with visual impairments

The app developer and Philly Touch Tours cofounder told Technical.ly about his latest vexes, projects and the first time he fell for tech.

Austin Seraphin.

(Photo courtesy of Roberto Torres)

Austin Seraphin’s life-long and recently painful dealings with retinopathy of prematurity, a condition that has made him blind since birth, have given the 41-year old developer and founder unique insight into the paths where accessibility and technology meet — and a keen eye for where the nodes need building.

In a recent sit-down with Technical.ly reporter Roberto Torres, the co-creator of sensory tour org Philly Touch Tours and designer of the Eyes Free Fitness app reminisced about falling in love with the tech world via an Apple IIE back in 1983, and talked about his latest inaccessibility pet peeve: cryptocurrency sites.

“If you write a program that gives a freedom but you don’t make it accessible, then you deny me that freedom,” Seraphin told Torres.

The programmer also expressed his frustration with sighted folks discrediting the “basic level of independence” of those who are visually impaired.

“We do things ourselves,” said Seraphin. “We don’t have people just doing things for us.”

Currently, the programmer is working on projects that hit close to home, including the melding of open source and accessibility. He believes the opportunity within the open source community derives from the fact that one doesn’t have to simply highlight flaws, but is able to make positive changes.

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