To whom it may concern,
I would like to start by thanking the team at Adalo for allowing me to create an app in a no-code format. While I have experience with website design and development, the no-code approach allows me to design by seeing and not by feature set. As someone with a disability, this has allowed me to use a skillset I did not know I had.
I work as an advocate at Southern California Resource Services for Independent Living (SCRS-IL) which is a cross-disability, non-residential, disability rights organization empowering people with any disability to live full and independent lives by committing to building an inclusive community that recognizes dignity, humanity, and worth of all people.
The philosophy of independent living is the belief that each person with a disability is unique and has the same civil rights as people who do not have a disability. Centers for Independent Living were created to be run by and for people with disabilities, and offer support, advocacy, and information on empowerment in the attainment of independence from a peer viewpoint, a perspective that was hitherto excluded from participation in the discussion and execution of “services for the disabled.”
One of my roles within our organization is to advocate for the inclusion, education, and use of technology within the disability community, it is my hope that Adalo’s platform will allow us to take another step towards this goal and bring more technology access to all.
In my experience I believe the best practice in working towards this is to involve those with disabilities to insure features that are needed for users with disabilities are not an afterthought during the app designing platform improvement process.
When researching which company to use to build our app, I found that Adalo met the core needs of our app development in the ease of use, integration, and expandability. When browsing through your website, the following statement stood out to me: “We encourage & celebrate our differences. We are better together & each difference we bring to the company helps to shape Adalo into something greater than can be achieved alone. Our company is made better when we’re each able to bring our full selves to work each day. We not only invite differences, we welcome them.”
Assistive Technology in relation to computer, cellphone and IT systems can be life-changing for those with disabilities, and Adalo has the opportunity to be a leader in disabled-focused app tools and creation, which is why I also believe anyone should be able to create an app regardless of their technical expertise.
It would stand to reason if you believe anyone can make an app, then anyone should be able to use them as well providing the accessibility requirements are met.
Access to assistive technology can, in many cases, define the difference between full and equal access to the internet and computer operating systems such as android and iOS.
Specialized technologies such as screen readers and magnification for blind and visually-impaired people, and text-to-speech software such as JAWS or ZoomText for individuals with dyslexia and other neuro-divergent conditions, go well beyond the standard accessibility features built into Microsoft and Apple computers. It is imperative that the mobile development process includes at minimum the basic accessibility functions that android and iOS already have built in.
I feel that a big contributor to the digital divide is due to the fact that there is little to no inclusion of those with disabilities at the core of the issue.
I reached out to the support team about accessibility and received this response:
“Thanks for bringing this to our attention. We hope to be able to make the necessary improvements to accessibility within our app in the future. If you would like to be notified of the progress of these improvements, you can add your upvote to this feature request and you will be notified by email when the status of this changes.
while I understand that development must be staggered and priority-based. For this, a voting based system makes sense. However I firmly believe that accessibility should not be treated as a “feature,” simply because a feature is something that is added in addition to the base of an app. Accessibility should always be treated as a core component because you are allowing a completely different set of use cases to take place, such as screen readers and magnifiers, which in turn would allow for the inclusion of those with disabilities to use base functions of an app.
Lastly I would like to highlight intent of this letter. I admire the work that the Adalo team is doing, I too also believe that that the future of no-code development should be alongside traditional development tools and methods, not a replacement. However, I also believe that no-code development can serve as an ideal that promotes open inclusive conversation around both the tools and apps helping ensure they are accessible to all.
Liam Matthews | Program Assistant
Independent Living & Employment Services