Accessible ICTs

Information and communication technologies (ICTs) include mobile communications, televisions, computers, digital interfaces, ATMs and the Internet. ICTs are integrated into many aspects of global society today and are essential to business and public services. Through the use of ICTs, individuals and communities at all levels can access and share important information which impacts significantly on their quality of life, well-being and social development.

The importance of ICTs in international development is increasingly recognised, especially as a means to support growth and social development in low and middle income countries. However, ICTs must be accessible to the whole population, including persons with disabilities; this is supported by article 9 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Accessible ICTs includes additions to both hardware and software so all users given a diverse range of needs can access technology. Additions include maximising basic accessibility, allowing user configuration, allowing a range of interaction methods, providing outputs in multiple forms and ensuring compatibility with assistive technologies. These concepts are important components of wider accessibility and universal design issues. Accessible ICTs impact the lives of people with disabilities by enhancing participation at work, access to education, access to health information and development of advocacy and peer support networks.

This key list features general resources, manuals, tools and guides for accessible information and communication technology for people with disabilities and highlights specific resources related to ICT in inclusive education.

We welcome your suggestions: please send comments or suggested additions to sourceassistant@hi-uk.org.

Selected resources

General resources

Benefits and costs of e-accessibility : how economics and market forces can support e-accessibility and the convention on the rights of peoples' with disability

BURGER, Dominique
et al
March 2012

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This white paper seeks to document the innovative elements of a conference discussion about e-accessibility costs and benefits. Despite technological and political achievements, the economics of e-accessibility need to be understood. This paper aims to define new approaches to understand how best to promote e-accessibility models
E-Accessibility costs and benefits
Paris, France
28 March 2011

Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities 2012 ICT accessibility progress report

GOULD, Martin
et al
2012

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"The 2012 CRPD Progress Report includes the latest data on 52 countries representing 77.4 percent of the World Population. The report offers disability advocates, governments, civil society and international organizations, monitoring the progress of the implementation of the Convention by States Parties, a unique benchmarking tool that collects data on country laws, policies, and programs pertaining to accessible and assistive Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) around the globe. All results are available cross-tabulated by region, level of income per capita of Human Development Index to facilitate benchmarking by advocates and policy makers"

E-access bulletin live

E-ACCESS BULLETIN

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The blog provides a forum for discussion, news and a place to share expertise on accessibility to digital technologies by people with disabilities. It aims to be a lively forum and a place for sharing views and information and ideas with experts, practitioners and disabled technology users from across the globe

F123.org

F123 GROUP

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Project F123 enables access to educational and employment opportunities through free and open source assistive technologies. It provides easy and inexpensive access to powerful assistive technologies (such as screen readers or virtual keyboards) to enable people with disability needs to use almost any computer without the need to install anything on its hard disk

G3ict : the global initiative for inclusive ICTs

GLOBAL INITIATIVE FOR INCLUSIVE INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES (G3ICT)

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G3ict, the Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies(ICT), is an advocacy initiative of the UN GAID, the United Nations Global Alliance for ICT and Development, launched in December 2006 in cooperation with the Secretariat for the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities at UN DESA. Its mission is to facilitate and support the implementation of the dispositions of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on the accessibility of Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) and assistive technologies. G3ict relies on an international network of ICT accessibility experts to develop and promote good practices, technical resources and benchmarks for ICT accessibility advocates around the world. This website presents information about the initiative, related events, experts and resources. Users can regster to be a fellow and receive their newsletter. This resource is useful for anyone interested in inclusive ICTs

ICT resources : home

GLOBAL ALLIANCE ON ACCESSIBLE TECHNOLOGY AND ENVIRONMENT (GAATES)

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This database provides resources "to assist organizations better understand and apply accessible information and communication technologies to their business practices. Although many of these resources specifically address the obligations of businesses in Ontario (Canada) to comply with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (2005), the concepts, strategies and resources presented can be applied to any organization in any location." Useful links are provided to publications, vendors and a glossary related to accessible information and communication services

Inclusive information and communication technologies for people with disabilities

SIMPSON, Jennifer
2009

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"Information and Communications Technology (ICT) has the potential both to enhance access for people with disabilities and to contribute to creating barriers. What we now call the digital divide actually began long before the introduction of computers - barriers have existed and still exist today with telephones, television, the Internet and other information technology. It is important to remember that people with disabilities have many different accessibility needs and that there are different ways to make technology accessible and that new accessibility needs emerge as technology changes. This paper looks at the state of accessibility policy in the U.S. in several technology infrastructures that may provide some lessons and directions for increasing inclusive information and communication technologies worldwide"
Disability Studies Quarterly, Vol 29, No1

Making mobile phones and services accessible for persons with disabilities

NARASIMHAN, Nirmita,
LEBLOIS, Axel
2011

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"This report contains references to the new legislative and regulatory framework set by the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, an important resource for policy makers. It also covers practical elements required for a successful implementation of those programs and policies: technical accessibility features for handsets, accessible and assistive applications and services as well as business cases of companies which have implemented significant accessibility programs...(T)his report will be a useful resource for telecom regulators, mobile operators, organizations of persons with disabilities and other mobile stakeholders to develop successful accessibility policies and programs in their respective countries to equally serve persons of all abilities"

Making television accessible

LOOMS, Peter Olaf
November 2011

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"This report identifies the kinds of access services required by a range of persons with disabilities and the respective accessibility options. These include closed captioning and signing for the deaf, audio description and audio captions for the blind or those with visual impairments, and accessible remote control devices for the elderly and those with reduced dexterity. This report explains how access services are produced and delivered so that regulators and service providers can better understand the costs involved. It also identifies the need to make the target users aware of access services and provides a checklist for those implementing accessible TV." It is useful for for media executives, regulators and policy makers, pay-TV operators, consumer electronics manufacturers, sales outlets as well as disabled persons organizations

The ICT opportunity for a disability-inclusive development framework

INTERNATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS UNION
September 2013

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This report "contributes to a better understanding of the extent to which information and communication technologies (ICTs) enable and accelerate the social and economic inclusion of persons with disabilities. It highlights that when ICTs are available, affordable and accessible, they significantly improve access to all aspects of society and development. It also lists challenges that are still to be addressed while outlining concrete actions to be undertaken by each group of stake holders - including national governments, the private sector, and civil and international organizations - and relevant indicators to monitor progress towards the achievement of a disability-inclusive development agenda"
Note: report is available in pdf and word formats, additional annexes can be downloaded from the link above

Tiresias : making ICT accessible

RNIB DIGITAL ACCESSIBILITY TEAM

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This website provides information about the importance and benefits of ICT accessibility, research resources to support primary research, detailed design guidelines and a collection of project tools. It is useful to anyone interested in accessible ICTs

UNESCO global report|Opening new avenues for empowerment : ICTs to access information and knowledge for persons with disabilities

UNITED NATIONS EDUCATIONAL, SCIENTIFIC AND CULTURAL ORGANIZATION (UNESCO)
February 2013

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This report aims "to provide governments, civil society, industry, academia and other groups with an insight into the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) by persons with disabilities to access information and knowledge around the world; To present an overview and critical assessment of existing information policies and strategies as well as challenges and advantages in using ICTs to access information and knowledge for persons with disabilities; To identify practices at local, national and global levels on effective application of ICTs by persons with disabilities to access information and knowledge; To foster future frameworks on the use of ICTs to access information and knowledge of persons with disabilities (PWD); and Based on the best available information and analysis, to make recommendations for strategy formulation, action-oriented initiatives and new synergies at national, regional and international levels"

United Nations expert group meeting on accessibility : innovative and cost-effective approaches for inclusive and accessible development

UNITED NATIONS ENABLE
2010

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This meeting report provides information "to promote greater awareness of environmental and ICT accessibility and advancement of persons with disabilities in the context of development, and to identify innovative and cost-effective approaches to accessibility both in the physical environment and in the fields of information and communications technologies as means to further inclusive processes of development"
"Expert meeting on environmental and ICT accessibility: innovative and cost-effective approaches to inclusive development"
Washington, DC
28-30 June 2010

United Nations expert meeting on building inclusive societies and development through promotion of accessible information and communication technologies (ICTs) : emerging issues and trends

UNITED NATIONS DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL AFFAIRS (UNDESA),
UNITED NATIONS INFORMATION CENTER,
THE NIPPON FOUNDATION
2012

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This report is the outcome of a United Nations Expert Group Meeting (EGM) consisting of plenary and working group sessions. Presentations and discussions on issues and trends in accessible and usable information and communications technologies (ICTs) and development are provided. The working groups recommendations include: (1) policy frameworks and institutional arrangements to promote accessible and usable ICTs, (2) accessibility technologies and technical standards and (3) accessible and usable ICTs in disaster responses and emergency situations
United Nations expert meeting on building inclusive societies and development through promotion of accessible information and communication technologies (ICTs) : emerging issues and trends
Tokyo, Japan
19-21 April 2012

Universal service for persons with disabilities : a global survey of policy interventions and good practices

THE CENTRE FOR INTERNET & SOCIETY (CIS),
THE GLOBAL INITIATIVE FOR INCLUSIVE INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGIES (G3ict)
December 2011

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This report documents "how Universal Service definitions and related policies and programs have been implemented by various countries to ensure that persons with disabilities have full access, on an equal basis with others, to telecommunication service...(it) aims to highlight the extreme suitability of leveraging the Universal Service Fund (USF) to implement accessibility and assistive technologies in telecommunications. It examines the evolution of the concept of USF, its minimum mandate and scope, funding sources, as well as project implementation mechanisms and showcases countries which are using the USF to fund accessibility projects through policies and programmes." This report is useful for policy makers, operators, organizations of persons with disabilities, and as a framework for good practice sharing among countries currently implementing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

Using ICT to empower people with disabilities

INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLGIES FOR DEVELOPMENT(ict4d)

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This website presents general information and resources related to accessible information and communication technologies (ICTs) for people with disabilities. Information related to specific impairments and links to assistive technology companies and organizations are also provided. This website is useful to people with disabilities, researchers and practitioners interested in accessible ICTs

Web accessibility policy making : an international perspective

G3ICT,
THE CENTRE FOR INTERNET AND SOCIETY
January 2012

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This report reviews of a number of countries policies on web accessibility to share good practice. The internet and ICT have become increasingly accessible with the introduction of electronic screen readers, close-captions video viewers and personally tailored assistive technology readers. Despite this, the authors maintain that there are still 1 billion disabled people who could have better access to the internet and ICT and there is great potential for improvement

Manuals, guides and toolkits

Accessible digital office document (ADOD) project

TREVIRANUS, Jutta,
RUPLALL, Sabrina,
RICHARDS, Jan

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This project website provides information to create accessible office documents and choose accessible office applications for organisations. The guidance is based primarily on WCAG 2.0 and ATAG 1.0. Governments, public sector organizations, and service organizations will find this resource useful for creating accessible office documents

E-Accessibility policy handbook for persons with disabilities : based upon the ITU-G3ict e-accessibility policy toolkit for persons with disabilities

NARASIMHAN, Nirmita
Ed
October 2010

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This handbook is a companion to the toolkit and contains contributions from more than 60 experts around the world on ICT accessibility. It is useful for policy makers and regulators, advocacy and research organisations and persons with disabilities on the implementation of the ICT dispositions of the CRPD
Note: Braille and DAISY formats are available from the web link

E-accessibility toolkit

LEBLOIS, Axel
et al

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This practical online toolkit is designed for policy makers and regulators focusing specifically on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) provisions regarding accessibility to information and communication technologies (ICTs) for persons with disabilities. It provides comprehensive information about ICT accessibility, and highlights that it is a cross-cutting issue that concerns a broad range of government agencies and ministries, including those for broadcasting, communication, education, employment and human rights areas. It gives detailed information about technology areas, policy guides and assessment framework

Making information accessible for all

EUROPEAN BLIND UNION (EBU)

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This webguide provides information on why it is important to make information accessible to people with visual impairments and what accessible information is. There are detailed instructions on how to use Word, Excel, PDF,  and other formats in an accessible way. The webguide also provides a glossary of terms along with a list a groups that can assist those with visual impairments

WAVE : web accessibility evaluation tool

WEB ACCESSIBILITY IN MIND

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"WAVE is a free web accessibility evaluation tool provided by WebAIM. It is used to aid humans in the web accessibility evaluation process. Rather than providing a complex technical report, WAVE shows the original web page with embedded icons and indicators that reveal the accessibility of that page"

Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)

WEB ACCESSIBILITY INITIATIVE (WAI)

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This website features general information about the web accessibility initiative and useful resources and guides related to managing and implementing web accessibility in an organization

Education

Access for people with disabilities

UNITED NATIONS EDUCATIONAL,SCIENTIFIC AND CULTURAL ORGANIZATION (UNESCO)

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This website presents information to promote the use of ICT for access to information and knowledge for persons with disabilities. It provides useful links to education related information about meetings, news, resources and websites

Accessible ICTs and personalized learning for students with disabilities : a dialogue among educators, industry, government and civil society

UNITED NATIONS EDUCATIONAL, SCIENTIFIC AND CULTURAL ORGANIZATION (UNESCO)
2011

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"The use of technology in education plays a particularly vital role by enabling flexible curriculum development and assisting students with disabilities to participate as equals in the learning experience. The recommendations contained in this report target teachers, policy makers and administrators. The main recommendations centre on a number of core themes that include maximising the use of the myriad of accessibility features in mainstream ICTs such as personal computers, tablet PCs, mobile phones etc. already in use in classrooms; empowering students to learn their own preferences and settings when using technology for learning and removing attitudinal barriers to the use of technology for inclusive education, in particular those of teachers who may struggle with modern ICTs"
Collaborative Expert Meeting Report
UNESCO Headquarters, Paris
17 -18 November 2011

Effective use of assistive technologies for inclusive education in developing countries : issues and challenges from two case studies

GRONLUND, Åke,
LIM, Nena,
LARSSON, Hannu
2010

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This article presents a study that "conducted an in-depth case study of two developing countries, Bangladesh and Tanzania, and thoroughly reviewed existing (inclusive education) IE projects around the world and other relevant literature. Three experts in the field and 18 informants of the two selected countries were interviewed in person, by phone or by email. The analysis of findings from interviews and literature review shows that obstacles to effective use of (assistive technologies) AT for IE come from three different levels - school, national, and network"
IJEDICT, Vol 6, Issue 4

ICTs in education for people with disabilities

WATKINS, Amanda,
TOKAREVA, Natalia,
TURNER, Marcella
2011

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This is "a report presenting concrete examples of practice of the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) with people with disabilities in different educational contexts and settings. In particular, the review was targeted at considering examples of practice that can be considered to be ‘innovative’ within the specific educational setting and wider societal context they were situated within...The aims of this Practice Review are to use the collected examples in order to: highlight a range of different purposes for using ICT in education for people with disabilities, identify possible key messages for policy and practice in this area"

ICTs in education for people with special needs

UNITED NATIONS EDUCATIONAL,SCIENTIFIC AND CULTURAL ORGANIZATION (UNESCO) Institute for Information Technologies in Education
2006

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"The course is intended to provide the specialists involved in education of people with special educational needs (SEN), with an overview of main ways, methods, and principles of information and communication technology (ICT) usage in their professional activities.
Materials of the course represent the best international experience, supported by comprehensive training materials and special sections with references, summaries, glossary, assignments, and bibliography for supplementary readings. The course offers the opportunities to acquire knowledge and develop practical skills on specifics of ICT application in faceto-face and distance education meeting the needs of six main groups of disabilities: physical, visual, hearing, speech and language, cognitive, learning. Particular emphasis of the course is placed upon the basic aspects of ICT policy development in special needs education (SNE), including promotion of ICT infrastructure, integration of ICTs into curriculum, training and retraining of ICT specialists in SNE
The materials presented in the course will be of interest to a wide range of specialists involved in education of people with SEN, from high-level policy- and decision-makers to researchers, teachers, programme planners, and curriculum developers"

Inclusive education : helping teachers to choose ICT resources and to use them effectively

BENIGNO, Vincenza,
BOCCONI, Stefania,
OTT, Michela
November 2007

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"This paper looks at the issue of school inclusion by referring to the concept of Universal Access to Education. It focuses on the strong potential Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) provide to avoid any kind of discrimination among students. The paper also argues that teachers play a fundamental role in capitalising the opportunities offered by new technologies to support the full inclusion of all students in mainstream education systems"
e-Learning Papers, No 6

Model policy for inclusive ICTs in education for persons with disabilities

WATKINS, Amanda,
LEBLOIS, Axel
2014

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“This document presents a Model Policy for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in Education for Persons with Disabilities. The focus is upon the use of ICTs to support the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD, 2006), specifically:

  • Article 9: Accessibility;
  • Article 21: Freedom of Expression and Opinion, and Access to Information;
  • Article 24: Inclusive Education”