March 13, 2024

Digital accessibility & inclusivity

A few examples of issues hindering digital accessibility and inclusivity

  • usage of .docx files excludes those who are not comfortable accepting terms and conditions of Microsoft Inc.
  • usage of Telegram and Signal excludes those who are not comfortable signing terms and conditions of Telegram/Signal or using Telegram/Signal’s servers
  • usage of Google Suite (or any other SaaS really) for surveys, documents, spreadsheets - and much more - excludes those who are not comfortable accepting terms and conditions of Alphabet Inc. or using Alphabet’s servers
  • usage of HTML in newsletters excludes those who can only display emails in plain text
  • restricting members, employees et al. from working locally, that is on their computer and without being connecting to the internet, but instead forcing people to run office applications a third party server
  • storing of personal details of members/clients/users on the servers of a company that is a digital glebe - without seeking consent of users first
  • company hosting mailboxes of an organisation requiring users to run JavaScript in the browser to log in to the webmail interface1
  • doctors or health practitioners who nudge patients to make appointments through a digital glebe e.g. a entering their data on a website that is a digital glebe2
  • premises requiring people to have a mobile application and an internet connection to unlock doors or identify themselves

Feel free to email me examples you’d like to add to that list:

Suggestions for fostering digital accessibility and inclusivity

  • use file formats which specifications are freely distributed e.g. .odt instead of .docx3
  • use software which is freely distributed4 and copyleft-licensed5 e.g. LibreOffice instead of Microsoft Word
  • use servers you have agency over e.g. the server of cooperative e.g. Codeberg e.V. or hostsharing e.G. instead of the servers of companies like Gandi SAS, Hetzner GmbH or Inc.
  • use software which can federate i.e. which instances can interoperate e.g. email or XMPP instead of Telegram or Signal6
  • prioritise running software locally (i.e. on your own computer) rather than the computer of someone else
  • do not link or integrate trackers or SDKs or other code snippets stemming from digital glebes7
  • run software on machines running a freely distributed operating system e.g. GNU/Linux Trisquel8
  • prioritise using plain text (along with syntax like Markdown9 for example)
  • following what we think is morally right rather than thinking that abiding by the laws is enough








  8.; Ubuntu and Debian GNU/Linux are both composed of binary blobs, i.e. proprietary (as in non-free; which usage is restricted) software↩︎

  9. To learn more about Markdown see↩︎


I do self-funded research and I'm writing a book.

> What's the book about?

About technologies and agency.

Meaning, technologies can foster agency. No doubt. But I am also asking:

Can usage of technologies give us a sense of empowerment while in fact undermining our abilities?

I posted a summary of the prologue on the homepage:


personal computing office applications digital literacy blog post wiki

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