Technology Changes Ahead for the Year 2020

2020 is off to a roaring start! This month we asked our panelists their predictions on where they see technology headed in the months to come.

Our Panelists

William Goren (WG),  Dennis Kennedy (DK), and Michael Goler (MG).

Are there any changes in website accessibility from last year?

WG: It continues to grow exponentially, both with regards to screen readers, which presumably include voice dictation, and Deaf/deaf access as well.

In light of the increasing popularity of podcasts, are blogs still viable for lawyers in 2020?

WG: I don’t do podcasts, but I firmly believe blogging remains useful. Most of my clients find me through my blog, Understanding the ADA. That said, if you are blogging only to get clients, you will be very disappointed.

DK: In my experience, podcasts are much harder to produce and sustain over the long haul than blogs are. Lawyers who want to podcast have to be comfortable with their own voices and production of content in an audio format. Blogging works really well for those comfortable with writing and is much easier to do. Ultimately, you need to find a medium and channel that is most comfortable for you and where your target audience is most likely to consume your content. So, blogs are still very viable. It’s the long-term viability of all the new podcasts that concerns me.

MG: I think that blogs will remain relevant. They can provide a “historical” thread to a conversation that podcasts would not, so they can often provide better (or perhaps a more effective) context for current comments.

If you are a podcaster, what do you think makes for a good podcast? How complicated is it to host your own podcast? Did your podcast take the place of a blog?

WG: While I have yet to do a podcast, one thing that has to be remembered is making sure a podcast can be accessed by the deaf/Deaf HOH communities.

DK: You need to have an engaging “show” that people will want to return to or very compelling content for a specific audience. There is now a lot of competition from commercial podcasts and it is much harder than ever for the small podcaster to get heard and find an audience. The move of big media players (including Spotify) will also change the podcast landscape in ways that will favor popular commercial podcasts. It’s a lot of work to create and produce a podcast, but it’s not that difficult. However, most people tend to underestimate all the steps involved. The Kennedy-Mighell Report podcast has definitely become the primary outlet for certain types of material and discussions I would have blogged in the past, but my blog and my podcast each have their own purposes. I would not replace a blog with a podcast—at a minimum, you still need your blog to promote your podcast.

Have there been any changes you’ve noticed software providers are doing with respect to accessibility in 2020 (such as voice dictation and screen readers)?

WG: With all the litigation going on, there are signs software providers and web sites are getting the message, but it can still be hit or miss. One thing I have personally seen is providers forgetting that any updates to the platform they use must also be accessible.

DK: There is a massive trend in all technology toward voice interfaces. We talk to Alexa, Google, and Siri for all kinds of purposes. It’s difficult to imagine typing in a search for directions these days. Voice input is appearing everywhere. That’s a big change. I’ve also noticed that software programs make accessibility options easier to locate and seem to be offering more choices.

In light of website developments over the last year, do you foresee companies reviewing their efforts with respect to the accessibility of their products?

WG: I sure hope so. The Supreme Court signaled as far back as the summer of 2018 that it is going to apply the ADA to websites regardless of whether a physical place is involved. See this blog entry here.

DK: The success of “dark mode” over the past year to make it easier for people to read screens in the dark is a great example of how an “accessibility” option took hold in a larger audience than expected. The technology is now available to make it routine to add options to make products easier to see, hear, and use. Big data, machine learning, and AI are helping with text-to-voice, dictation, and even translation. It’s an exciting time.

MG: I hope that companies will focus more attention on cybersecurity issues, particularly in light of the continuing complexity and security gaps that seem to be appearing in software of all kinds.

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