European Commission eAccessibility conference (continued – session 6)

6 eAccessibility

Kevin Carey, HumanITy
– General right of access: huge strain on the disability community each time a new technology or enviornment comes up. Proposes that a general right of platform independent accessibility be included in the Riga declaration. He particularly referred to the need to take the principles of WAI beyond just the PC, and to all electronic ICT media and user terminals (including mobile phones, interactive kiosks, etc.)

Arnoud van Wijk
Let the move to IP telephony be the move to accessible multimedia technology for all. Need for an input as advisor to standards bodies on needs for deaf and hard of hearing people.

Bojil Dobrev, Technical University of Sofia, Bulgaria
Challenge is to integrate political, legal, organisational and social issues
Action needed on eAccessibility as part of national IS strategies, legal framework for disabled people, parallel development of suitable infrastruture, training in literacy and provision of local, regional and national competence centres.

Mike Fawkner-Corbett, Vodafone
Measured European exclusion through an “exclusion audit”: 9% of EU population over 16 are excluded from use of mobile phone (on basis of first use). Principal concern is to lower barriers to mobile communications: inclusive platform design; accessibility market assessment; headring aid report; hearing innovations; accessibility white paper. Vodafone committed to reducing exclusion by a third by 2010.

Gunnar Helstrom, Omnitor
Telephony is currently an inaccessible cornerstone of society. Need to promote, through IP, good video (for lip-reading, etc), real-time text on alternate channels, higher quality audio, making extended telephony functions globally accessible rather than divided by market segments, operating relay services for translating text across languages, making emergency services available trhough all telephony media, establishing inter-working with legacy phone systems.
Foster implementation of the recommendations of the TCAM eWGDRoadmap for accessible conversational sevices.
Create joint agreements that go forward to industry and standardisation groups for implementation.

Jeff McWhinney, European Union for the Deaf
The challenge for deaf people with multimedia and IP telephony; particularly make a virtue of the integration that has been such a problem in many areas. Deaf people experience problems with telecommunications market and had to rely on proprietary “text telephones”. WHne this can be coupled with video and text messaging, it opens up the opportunity for deaf people (particularly the large majority who do not have access to sign-language interpretation).

Paivi Thakokallio, European Design 4 all eAccessibility Network
Role of education and training, industry involvement and cooperation; and standards

Ralph de Rooij, Overheid, NL
Presentation of the “web guidelines “project for the Dutch government.

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