People with disabilities want to be independent; they want to do things for themselves by themselves. This is a fundamental issue of human dignity, which is enshrined and enacted in good corporate responsibility and legislation and also enabled as good business practice. Disabled people may be amongst your staff and will be an increasingly large proportion of your client base too.
Well designed systems will not only attract the one in seven of the population who are registered disabled but also the 50% of the population who are challenged in less severe ways.
Most ICT systems and websites are not fully accessible. This is not because the designers have wilfully discriminated against people with disabilities, but because accessibility does not happen automatically; it needs the active support of all levels of management and ICT.
Accessibility and usability are closely related subjects and should be considered together. In general, good accessibility design will ensure ease of use and good usability which will mean a preference to use accessible systems and a direct financial benefit.
The impact of failure to provide accessibility comes in three areas:
Run by Peter Abrahams the Bloor accessibility practice is a unique service which can help your company to make your systems accessible.
The practice looks at not just how to ensure that ICT is accessible to people with disabilities, but also how ICT can be used to positively enhance their life experience. It reports on hardware and software through the development lifecycle that may impact on accessibility and usability. It investigates relevant legislation, standards, best business practices and emerging technologies.
Our aim is to provide information, needed to choose and develop tools and techniques that enhance accessibility and usability, to commissioning organisations, IT developers, users and vendors. Our aim is to provide information to commissioning organisations, IT developers, users and vendors to assist them to choose and develop tools and techniques that enhance accessibility and usability. It’s more than simply an issue for IT to worry about, General Management, Marketing and Product Development should all be looking at it, whether your company is involved in software development, e-commerce or you are simply looking at how your staff uses your ICT systems.