AD Workshop 136: Implementing good practices in accessibility for an inclusive society
Sixth Annual Meeting of the Internet Governance Forum
27 -30 September 2011
United Nations Office in Nairobi, Nairobi, Kenya
September 28, 2011 - 09:00AM
The following is the output of the real-time captioning taken during the Sixth Meeting of the IGF, in Nairobi, Kenya. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the session, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
>> SHADI ABOU-ZAHRA: Ladies and gentlemen, good morning. I apologize for the delay. We are having technical problems. We will start in just a few minutes.
>> SHADI ABOU-ZAHRA: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the session, session 136 on implementing accessibility in mainstream implementations. Thank you for your patience, and thank you for making your way into this conference room. Apologize for inconvenience of room change.
So we have a panel today of discussion with excellent presentations and different studies from around the world, and also international perspectives. The idea is to look ahead at what has been happening and how we can implement accessibility, not just talk about it.
So my name is Shadi Abou Zahra. I work with the World Wide Web consortium, Web accessibility initiative.
We develop, the W3C develops Web standards, core technical standards such as html, CSS, and XML and many other standards that actually drive the Web, the core technologies of the Web today.
And the Web accessibility initiative part of W3C develops standards for accessibility standards and resources for Web accessibility. So how to make the Web accessible for people with disabilities.
Those standards have been widely recognized internationally by many Governments and organisations, and it's one example to show that technologies exist, solutions exist. The question is how to get those solutions implemented, and deployed.
There are many other standards for accessibility or that support accessibility, just to mention for instance, realtime text, a technology for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, which also exists. The question again is about deployment. ITU has many standards, basic, we are going to be hearing many different types of presentations, many different types of technologies.
But today, we actually want to look back and see, since the IGF has begun five years ago, we have been again and again talking about accessibility, talking about implementation, but what has really happened in between, what has been implemented, what can we learn from that, and what can we take away maybe from today and maybe try to implement in our own regions or countries.
Our first speaker, Mr. Satish Babu, is going to be providing a case study from a very exciting project in India. And I think it's something that we can learn from, that can be reimplemented, not only in India, but also internationally. Next speaker will be, I'm sorry, Fernando Botelho, who will be presenting also how he implements technologies and how he and his organisation helps deploy accessibility in Brazil, using free and open source software.
And next, Hiroshi Kawamura will be talking to us, I think something really really important about accessibility not only being a luxury or something nice to have, but something really really important. It is part of our every day lives. And the examples that Hiroshi is going to show is about disaster emergency preparedness and how accessibility can actually save people's lives.
Finally, we are going to have Martin Gould from G3ict presenting the international perspective showing us implementations from around the world, what has actually been happening implementing. It is going to be ten minutes per each speaker. And then we are going to have open up the floor, and have a round of discussions, with you, I hope this will be an interactive session, with all of you.
So please start thinking during the presentations about your questions, and how you can maybe take good practices from those studies and use them in your every day lives.
Finally, also want to mention that unfortunately, our fifth speaker, Mr. Christophe Oule', has been, has not been able to attend here in person. But again, he has a very exciting case study from an implementation in Mali, about cyber cafe, Internet cafe, to help people with disabilities actually gain access to information technology. It's a cyber cafe with adapted computers that have speech software, for instance, or enlargement software, in order to allow many different people with disabilities to be able to access information, access technology, because as we know, not everybody can afford their own technologies and their own hardware.
So again, very exciting projects. I will not hold us up any more, but hand the floor over to Mr. Satish Babu to give us the first presentation.
>> SATISH BABU: Thank you, good morning to all of you. I bring you a presentation, a case study from the south of India, province called Kerala, which is otherwise famous for being 100 percent literate in a country like India. Before I get going with my presentation, a word about my organisation. The International Centre for Free and Open Source Software, IC FOSS, is a New York organisation but builds on working with different stakeholders in the domain of free and open source software.
We started in 2001 with a formal governmental position on free and open source software. And ten years down the line, we have a number of projects, including the one that I'm presenting right now, which is called Insight.
Now, Insight -- so the Insight programme actually is a state level. Now, Kerala is a state with about a population of about 32 million. And an estimated 2 to 3 percent of this population is considered as disabled. The normal proportions apply. We are talking about a fairly significant numbers of visually challenged as well.
The motivating factors have come from different stakeholders. Overall there has been a desire to integrate the visually challenged into the mainstream and the entire project is revolving around the single objective.
The FOSS, free and open source community, wanted to create low cost, high value, scalable applications that would be usable for large numbers of people.
The visually challenged community wanted to take their dismay into their own hands, and wanted to contribute in a project where they can directly provide their input. It is not done by somebody sitting somewhere far away but someone in their own milieu.
The Government wanted to ensure that ICTs were accessible to all, including the differently abled, so the benefits of ICTs could agree to every part of the section of the population. The agencies involved, Kerala Government was represented by the Kerala state IT mission. But the actual work was done by an NGO called Society for Promotion of Alternative Computing and Employment, or SPACE. The whole project has been funded by the Government.
And the Steering Committee of this project had representatives from all the stakeholders including the technical people including the visually challenged people and the organisations. The objective of the projects, I should reiterate or emphasize the main objective of the project was not to enable Web technologies for the blind, but it was to enable all the ICT technologies starting from installing an operating system on a brand-new computer, to configuring it, to using it for any kind of application including building document, spreadsheets, and the Web being just one among these applications.
The focus is not on the Web itself. It is just one of the applications, and the focus is actually on enabling ICTs themselves for differently abled.
We also wanted to ensure that this was scalable, I mean the overall objective was to integrate them into the mainstream to ensure that the quality of life is enhanced, which in our part of the world, integration basically refers to ensuring that the blind get a job. It is getting a job as a blind person is extremely important and that is the best way to integrate. It may be different for other places, but this is the situation in Kerala.
Getting them a job was also high priority, and the quality of life referred to being able to use ICTs like anyone else, being able to send E-mails or chat with someone, or all the normal applications that a sighted person would be able to use.
Of course, we also wanted to ensure that this is a scalable project, that means no legal restrictions in redistribution. And therefore, it obviously pointed to free and open source because of the licensing problems, the other part being scaleability from the point of view of finance. We wanted this to be zero cost or low cost project. And both aspects directly steered us into the domain of free and open source software.
The different activities included, one, free and rigorous training on computers and Internet to all the target constituencies.
Of course, well planned core structure that was appropriate for the kind of context we are talking about. We had a centre where people could come and sit not only for the training but even after the training.
Today, when the project is in the rollout mode, as opposed to the pilot mode, we are actually riding piggyback on a larger Government project which take ICT into every village. We are using that platform of the Government to roll out Insight to everybody in the 3.2 -- sorry, in this 32 million population that we have in Kerala.
We have of course free CDs and Braille books. Lately we have started an audio magazine that consists of a monthly magazine which has a variety of things, including current affairs, including news summaries and capsules, including entertainment programmes and including knowledge sharing.
This is also proven to be very popular. We also have the programme is actually, first phase was to train the trainers, master trainers. We have hierarchy consisting of the master trainers and trainers who train the final end users in the project.
So I would like to, that was my last formal slide. I would like to conclude by sharing some lessons learned from the project. Right now we started four years ago. We are past the stage of technology, customization that was required on the open source platform. The entire stack of technologies used are open source, it is shareable for everybody. And it has been done. The training of the trainers, master trainers and trainers overall, the rollout mode, we are inviting everybody, all the blind people in the entire population of Kerala to come and use these technologies, which are actually right in the villages, on account of the Government programme that I was mentioning.
We have just taken over one computer among the six or seven computers in this Government programme for exclusive use of the blind. The programme is doing very well. It has attracted a lot of attention from different people around the world.
I thought, as a person, I was introduced to DCAD in the Sharm El Sheikh IGF a couple years back, and I thought it was interesting and important that I share this with the broader DCAD community at IGF. Thank you very much.
>> SHADI ABOU-ZAHRA: Thank you very much. Very interesting presentation. I think some of the take-aways for me personally is the role of Government, also the role of education, both for the learner and for the trainers themselves, and finally also the role of free and open source software I think is something that was very strongly highlighted as well. I'll start up the next slide set from Fernando.
Okay. We are ready to go, Fernando. Please go ahead.
>> FERNANDO BOTELHO: Okay. Good morning, everyone. Thank you for coming. I will complement some of what Satish has mentioned and shared with us. And I will start by giving a perspective for those of you who have less experience in developing countries, but also those of you who live in developing countries, and share the same kind of obstacles we face in Brazil, and other countries in Latin America and so forth.
Why is cost such a big issue? Well, cost is a huge issue, because even in developed economies, a lot of the assistive technology is considered very expensive, and it's available to everyone because Governments have the obligation and the ability to purchase these technologies for persons with disabilities.
However, 80 percent of all persons with disabilities live in developing countries. So cost is a very important element. Typical screen reader or a conventional screen reader for the blind costs about the equivalent of about three or four computers. So if you are spending more than $1,000 on the screen reading software, and that's not including OCR software to scan books, that is not including necessarily magnification. You can see how that's not scalable at all.
And as Satish has mentioned, scaleability is a core concern for persons with disabilities in developing countries, because the typical situation in a lot of our countries is that you have a small minority of persons with disabilities that have access to the technology they need, because they live in the capital city, and they have the possibility of attending a school or a specialized NGO in this capital city.
However, the vast majority of people do not have that privilege, because usually public schools, public libraries do not have that technology, and NGOs are generally only able to serve a few people relative to the overall population.
Now, even those that have the privilege of accessing these expensive technologies, they then have to still face this obstacle, once they leave that NGO and try to find a job, because one of the most powerful methods for anybody with a disability to get a job is to first get an internship, and show how competitive we are in the workplace.
Now, who is going to be able to get an internship if you have to tell the employer that he has to spend the equivalent of two or three computers just to get the software you need. The same happens once the person, if the person is leaving that NGO to get higher education, and so forth.
So, in that respect, a donation as generous as it might be, does not really solve the problem. That is why scaleability is so much at the core of our concern.
Next slide. The FOSS, free and open source alternative.
I think one of the issues with low cost technologies and technologies that are available for free is that they do not give the foundation, the NGO, the company, or the Government that is using that technology, will not necessarily have a huge budget for marketing.
So, you might have this wonderful piece of technology, and a lot of people don't know about it.
So that is why it's so important to have word of mouth marketing, to have people such as yourselves sharing the experience you are having here today with friends, colleagues, organisations, Government agencies, so that they know that these technologies are available, and it's quite powerful to help them.
I will just give you a few examples. Compiz Fusion is owned, that is software for magnification, that works with Genome, that is a graphics user interface. Dasher, eSpeak, Eviacam, F123 motor, F123 visual, those, F123 is a project I'm involved in that I can tell you about a little more later, for virtual keyboards for persons with mobility impairments, to movement tracking software, so that moving your head, you can move the mouse on the screen by using a simple and inexpensive Web cam, to speech synthesis and screen reading and so forth.
So the amount of software that is available is quite extraordinary. And it can definitely have a huge impact in the lives and opportunities of people. The core advantages of free and open source solutions is not so much, is not only price. It is not just that it's usually free, but it is that it's not controlled by any single entity.
So let's assume you find something very interesting like Dasher or like F123, and there is no version in Swahili. And why? Well, maybe a lot of companies, they got started with it, and in their countries they had other priorities, so they didn't have a chance to make a version in Swahili.
Well, because open source software is not controlled by any single entity, and it's not just free, but the recipe in the source code, the recipe behind the software that creates that software is available for free modification by you, you can organise with foundation support, a Government or any kind of project model, you can organise the localisation, in other words, the translation and adaptation of that software to your needs.
And that's where we come in with the F123 initiative and many others. We are constantly looking for partners, be those individuals, or be them organisations, foundations and governments, that are interested in serving a large number of end users.
Why is this so important for them? For those agencies? Because the return on investment for them, the impact, the social impact of any investment that they might be able to make on the assistive technology that is open source is huge. Just to give you an example, the F123 project made a donation to the Mozilla Foundation, and through that -- I'm sorry, not the Mozilla Foundation, we joined the Mozilla Foundation in making a donation to the Genome Foundation. They have a very interesting software for magnification called Compiz Fusion eZoom. One of our users, one of our very early adopters told us, hey, Fernando, I like it very much. However, it does not do cursor tracking. In other words, when you have the image very large on your screen, you need that magnification area to follow the work you are doing.
And this was not happening. So we said, okay, let's get together, let's find a solution. We found some funding. We made a donation, and then we coordinated the work with a very specialized software developer, that had experience with Compiz Fusion. Now it is available and is in the process of being tested and will be included in the project called eZoom that I mentioned, and will be available to every user of the Genome graphical user interface.
What does that mean? That means that my project, this F123 in partnership with an angel called My Difference in Brazil, like I said we are always looking for partnerships, we made a $5,000 donation. If you are considering the conventional solution, which is proprietary software, that is used very often in developed and wealthy economies, 5,000 would buy you about five or six or seven copies of a magnifying software.
In our case, this $5,000 contribution made an improvement that is going to be able, be available to every user of the Genome graphical user interface which is using many Linux distribution. The estimate is that there are about 14 million users of the Genome interface.
If we assume very conservatively that 1 percent of those 14 million users are blind or visually impaired, or let's say low vision users, because this is specifically for low vision users, you already have a huge amount of, you know, instead of 6 or 5 copies that you can purchase and you can help six or seven individuals, you are helping, what, 1.4 is about 14,000 people. So any foundation, Government or individual that is interested in having a very large impact on society, specifically in the lives of persons with disabilities, will be well-advised to consider including FOSS, free and open source software in their strategy.
Next -- basically I got ahead of myself as usual, with my slides. The other option, the other let's say impact from a strategic point of view is that when you have something that is not controlled by a single entity, it greatly facilitates international cooperation.
So whatever we did with eZoom is going to be available to organisations in Kenya, whether we have a formal agreement with them or not. It's also going to be available to the Insight project in India and going to be available to everyone that is interested in low vision technology.
And that's crucial, because, yes, we are always interested in partnerships, but partnerships takes, take time. You have to meet the other organisation, draft projects, draft agreements, start projects, whereas when you have something that is open source, anybody can go right ahead without asking a specific, for a specific permission, and use your code, just like F123, our project has used other people's codes, or what I was calling recipes for those who are not technical, they can do the same with our contributions.
Now, just to finish, I don't exceed my ten minutes, so in terms of the social impact, Governments can ensure not just by ensure the maximization of the benefits that people can get from their limited resources, not just by using open source, but using creative comments, licensed documentation so that the documentation can be shared, and considering every aspect of the project. So we are not going to necessarily just make your documentation available in proprietary file formats, but also in file formats that can be used in any kind of context, because they are open.
So, free software, open standards in terms of file formats, open protocols, and what you get out of it is the maximum impact you can possibly have in terms of reaching out and helping those with disabilities. Thank you.
>> SHADI ABOU-ZAHRA: Thank you very much, Fernando, a very strong message on the benefits of free and open source software. Yeah, and also again, the role of employment and the importance of employment for people with disabilities, both for themselves to be equivalent part of the society, but also in the integrational aspect in order to make a change in the society and in the mind-set. I think that is also one of the key aspects of accessibility.
Could we please switch the presentation to the other computer? Okay. I think Hiroshi, you are presenting. No? That is the wrong one. We need the one in the middle. There it is. Okay. I hand over the floor to Hiroshi Kawamura, who is going to be speaking about experiences in Japan and Asia Pacific.
>> HIROSHI KAWAMURA: Okay. Good morning, everybody. I'm talking about the implementing accessibility in published knowledge. And in particular, DAISY4 and EPUB3 development, including some experience in Japan, but in the most of the part is the lesson learned from the worldwide experience.
The DAISY consortium is set up as a not-for-profit organisation to develop technology standard to address the needs of people with print disabilities.
We were the disability focal point at the World Summit on the Information Society, 2003 and 2005, and hosted the global Forum on disability in the information society.
We are very much keen to implement the United Nations convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities. Some countries like United States, the DAISY standards is adopted as an official national standard for the textbooks of accessibility alternatives, which is called in the United States, NIMAS, NIMAS. DAISY3 is also adopted by the United States, ANSI/NISO Z8936, and the most current version is 2005. We are working on the revision of the standard, hopefully to be adopted as the NISO standard 2011 by the end of this year.
We are very active in WIPO, World Intellectual Properties Organisation Working Group, to establish an international DAISY global library to exchange the alternative format reading materials globally, including developing countries. And also we have been working with the publishers organisation under the WIPO umbrella, and in order to enable publishers to publish accessible eBooks.
We are very much honored by the ITU to be awarded the world telecommunication and information society award in 2008.
The DAISY4 and EPUB3 has very close link, and EPUB3 is going to be officially released in, say, two weeks, and the DAISY4 will be the authoring and interchange format.
But we have officially adopted EPUB3 as the distribution format. So therefore, the EPUB3 will include the all DAISY reading experience, including accessibility. And we have developed software tools for conversion from DAISY4 authoring and interchange to EPUB3, as well as to downgrade to the DAISY2 and DAISY3, and also Braille printing, large print and standard book printing will be supported by DAISY4 authoring and interchange format.
This is our solution for publishers for one source solution, to publish at the same time for diversity of reading populations.
The current status of DAISY4 is under the public comment process. That will be finalized 28th of September; that is today. So with the conclusion of the public comment, we expect that it will be officially released by the end of this year.
Production and playback tools are being developed to support DAISY4 authoring and interchange format and EPUB3 both. And I'd like to mention about the free and open source software tools that are being developed by the DAISY consortium.
We have wide variety of open source software tools, including playback and production. And the DAISY standard itself is a free and open standard, nonproprietary, and with very good track record of accessibility.
The outcome of DAISY4 and EPUB3 merger will be at the day of publication is released, everybody will have equal access to that particular publication. So we don't need to create the alternative format if the EPUB3 is compliant with the accessibility standard, which can be done, and also the publisher would like to publish with automatic conversion process, which will be done by pipeline software tools. Then everybody including Braille readers may have the same release date of other publication.
And I'd like to show you some of the, just a bit of reading experience of DAISY. I hope the demonstration works fine.
First of all, there are several sites which will give you free downloading of DAISY contents, including the HIV AIDS resource manual being developed by the South African disability community, in four South African official languages, including English, Afrikaans, Zulu and Xhosa, and the demonstration I would like to show you is the one of the, one of those DAISY titles for HIV AIDS manual.
>> HIV AIDS is Xhosa.
>> HIROSHI KAWAMURA: You have navigation by Table of Contents. I jumped to the other section. I don't understand the Xhosa, so therefore, it's a chapter 3.
You can enlarge fonts. And you can speed up and down, in the narration.
With narration, as you see, the text is highlighted. The graphics in the book is, can be also highlighted. So that will help the concentration on the text which you are reading.
And not only for blind and low vision community, but also other cognitive disability community welcomes this reading experience, and of course, as eBook, if you have an accessible computer, so those who have mobility disability may manipulate this book perfectly.
So, this type of reading experience is also good for people with psychiatric disabilities, those who train themselves against tsunami in Japan, and the screen shot is one of the pages of the DAISY training manual for tsunami evacuation and which was used by 150 peoples group of psychiatric disabilities to protect themselves from tsunami. And on the 11th of March, this year, when tsunami hit their region, there was no casualty, because they could perform showcase evacuation, because of their successful drill.
In conclusion, DAISY4 together with EPUB3 standard will enable publishers to publish in accessible formats that meet the requirements of everybody, including persons with disabilities, people living with minority languages in the community, people living with indigenous languages, that do not have written scripts, and those who are illiterate.
And appropriate legal framework to guarantee the global sharing of accessible ePublications such as the proposal on an international instruments on limitation and exceptions for persons with print disabilities need to be implemented as soon as possible. So that is related to the copyright issues and other intellectual properties issues.
So we need to implement the accessibility in that field, and in order to break down the man-made barriers. Thank you very much.
>> SHADI ABOU-ZAHRA: Thank you very much. I think this presentation also showed very well the cross disability aspect here, where different types of disabilities, but also outside accessibility the relationship to internationalization and languages and literacy in general. Also, it shows the importance of access to information. We saw an example of awareness-raising material in HIV and AIDS for instance, but you can also think of medical products for instance and of course, as demonstrated life-saving information.
So I think very very important information here. Going ahead with further international perspectives, Martin, I give the floor to you, to show us the results or some peek into the G3ict report on international survey.
>> MARTIN GOULD: Thank you. Good morning, everyone. On behalf of Mr. Axel Leblois, Executive Director of the global initiative for inclusive information and communication technologies, I want to thank the UN, the Internet Governance Forum and DCAD for allowing G3ict to be part of this presentation.
G3ict was launched in December, 2006, as a flagship advocacy initiative of the UN global alliance ICT for global development. Currently a multistakeholder organisation dedicated to implementation of the global treaty, to accomplish its mission, G3ict implements a series of activities and develops and implements benchmarking and assessment tools and capacity building programmes, in close cooperation with a number of international organisations, including the International Telecommunications Union, UNESCO, Uniscape, World Bank and Unitar.
Topic is the global progress report for the implementation of the convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities. First slide, please.
The G3ict 2010 progress report on the global treaties objective is to assess the progress of treaty implementation by ratifying countries for ICT accessibility and to identify gaps. The research committee of G3ict conducted an article by article examination of the convention's disposition and covering ICTs. We identified 57 data points and framed them using United Nations development programmes reporting guidelines, and conceptual framework of structure or in this case a country's commitment to the relevant dispositions of the treaty, process, or country's ability to implement those treaty provisions, and outcomes, the actual implementation results of the treaty.
We distributed two different questionnaires to each of the participating countries; one questionnaire was for legal experts, one questionnaire was for accessibility experts in each country. We surveyed 32 countries in 2010. 31 of the countries had ratified the treaty. We included the United States. The 31 ratifying countries represent 75 percent of the world's population of the 90 ratifying countries, in existence at the time we conducted the survey in September of 2010.
In terms of the countries' commitments to the convention, and general legal and regulatory framework, we did find progressive alignment with the global treaty as evidenced by the slide.
Among the countries, 56 percent included policies for accessibility information infrastructure covering television and Web sites. 47 percent of the countries included policies and programmes dealing with fixed and mobile telephony. 41 percent of the countries involved policies covering automatic teller machines, and electronic kiosks. 38 percent covered digital talking books. 34 percent involved countries who covered public building displays through their policies and programmes, and 31 percent cover transportation and public address systems.
In terms of Government policies and programmes to promote accessibility, we found that 66 percent have laws, policies or programmes that ensure the persons with disabilities are consulted in developing and implementing legislation in general. 59 percent of the countries provide the public information and services in accessible and usable formats. 35 percent provide public procurement rules for accessibility. These are out of order.
I'm sorry. Next slide.
Thank you. With respect to the percent of state parties with policies covering ICT accessibility in specific areas we found that the area of education ranks number 1 among all areas that we surveyed, with 78 percent of the countries including primary and secondary education, 72 percent involving higher education, 63 percent of the countries covering rehabilitative services, 59 percent covering health services, 59 percent covering reasonable accommodations at work, 50 percent of the countries including emergency services as part of their policies covering ICT programmes, 44 percent involving their voting systems for their citizens, 44 percent involving judicial information and legal proceedings for their citizens. 38 percent involving community services, and 34 percent of the countries involving policies and programmes for independent living.
Next slide, please, Shadi. In terms of the capacity of countries to implement the dispositions, we found that there were somewhat more limitation. While 97 percent of the countries we surveyed have a Government body specifically dedicated to persons with disabilities, only 41 percent of them define, promote, monitor accessibility standards for information and communication technology.
Only 38 percent of the countries have public funds allocated to support digital accessibility, which as you know is the main aspect and focus of article 9 of the treaty. Only 28 percent of the countries have a systematic mechanism or means in any way to involve disabled person organisations working in the field of digital access to the drafting, designing, implementation and evaluation of relevant laws and programmes.
Only 13 percent of the countries have statistics or data accessible to the general public about digital access by persons with disabilities. Only 9 percent of the countries have mandatory training programmes such as at universities, and vocational schools for future professionals about digital access on behalf and with persons with disabilities. Next slide, please, Shadi.
In terms of countries' actual implementation, survey results indicated that among the country respondents, 78 percent included closed captioning, offer sign language interpretation implemented by TV broadcasters. 69 percent of the countries have accessible Government Web sites in their responses. 66 percent of the countries have libraries for the blind or libraries with eBook services. 59 percent of the countries have assistive technology for students with disabilities at major universities.
50 percent have programmes in place to facilitate the usage of telephony by persons with disabilities, such as transcription, TDD devices, relay services, or accessible public phones.
47 percent of the countries have wireless handsets with accessible features. And 44 percent of the countries mentioned having accessible Web sites among the top ten commercial and media Web sites, as well as having accessible ATMs or kiosks deployed around the country.
In terms of our survey conclusions, overall it appears that countries are making some good progress with respect to the general legal framework. However, countries' ICT accessibility policies and programmes are lagging significantly in relation to the treaties' dispositions particularly regarding article 9.
Countries need to work on their capacity to implement the treaty and all the relevant provisions in order to succeed, and countries also need to ensure that ICT accessibility, technical solutions and policies are in place and documented. And our final survey conclusion is that ICT policies and programmes must be further promoted in areas identified through benchmarking, self-assessment, and survey results such as these.
We are currently in the process of implementing the 2011 global survey of the convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities. In a brief overview, first, we began our survey data collection effort this summer.
We are looking to identify and secure more detailed data in this year's edition of the global survey. We are looking to include information that also involves the level of implementation of the various treaty provisions, to get specific examples of policies and programmes such as those discussed today by Satish, Fernando and Hiroshi, as well as percentage levels of certain public programmes and policies such as TV broadcasting programmes that are accessible and digitized and other type of information.
We are looking for all ratifying countries to participate in this year's survey effort. We are working with Disabled Peoples International, Human Rights Watch, and a set of regional volunteer coordinators in our endeavor this year. As of today, we have received survey responses from 32 ratifying countries, after only eight weeks of beginning our survey implementation for 2011.
We expect to complete data collection in the late fall of this year. In terms of overall conclusions, we believe the CRPD progress report allows for a clear prioritization of ICT accessibility barriers, to be dealt with by state parties who have ratified the convention.
We believe it gives local advocates a unique source to benchmark their own country's ICT accessibility policies and implementation to lobby for change in their countries.
We have shared these 2010 results with multiple organisations, including the UN committee on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities in the fall of 2010 in Geneva, and the upcoming world assembly of Disabled Peoples International in early October in Durban, South Africa. We call on all DCAD and IGF stakeholders to, one, promote research and support our network of dedicated in-country panelists and advocates for persons with disabilities in this endeavor. We publicize and leverage results with stakeholders and hope that you can use these results to influence and accelerate the implementation of ICT agenda of the global treaty.
The report, this report is available on the G3ict Web site at WWW.G3ict.org.
We hope you can support the G3ict awareness campaigns and capacity building programmes, addressing the issues identified by this progress report on accessibility. And finally, we hope you all can join G3ict and DCAD members at the upcoming M or mobile enabling summit December 5-6, 2011 in Washington, D.C., which is the first global gathering of regulators, persons with disabilities, and mobile service providers dedicated to mobile accessibility and mobile assistive applications and services. Thank you.
>> SHADI ABOU-ZAHRA: Thank you very much, Martin. Yeah, congratulations on getting those survey results. I know getting responses to surveys is sometimes like pulling teeth from people; so very difficult to do.
I think the statistics are also very refreshing, although encouraging to see implementation. Looking forward to the 2011 report and to see what kind of progress, although I think usually typically we need longer term in order to actually see significant progress in those types of surveys. This is the point where I'd like to open up the discussion and invite you to actively participate.
Are there questions or comments from the floor? Do people have thoughts? We have one question at the front. Arun.
>> ARUN MEHTA: Thank you. I have a question for Satish. Very interesting, your initiatives for persons with blindness in particular, how you can get them to be developing technology for themselves. I'd like a little bit more information on that. Write software, what languages do they use, how well has that worked, teaching programming and software development to blind people? Thank you.
>> SATISH BABU: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thanks, Arun, for the question. The question was first of all, as I understand, how do we involve the blind people in the process of creating software for themselves, and secondly, the aspects of programming through these tools done by the disabled or the blind persons.
The first thing, as I mentioned, the steering body of the project has representatives from the individuals and their organisations of the disabled, blind people. They have been participating in every step of the visualization, design and implementation, piloting and rollout of the projects.
So there is a lot of, there is a sense of ownership, and they are actually in the driver's seat as far as the overall design and implementation of the project is concerned.
Regarding the second aspect of how we have been able to involve the blind people in programming and later technical aspects, the answer is that to an extent, I would say we had one resource who was actually a programmer before the project started. He worked in Mumbai, and he came down to our place, and he was instrumental in creating an environment conducive to starting programming. He also gave programming classes and tutorials to many of the people who were interested.
Of the people who had the tutorials, the uptake was reasonable, 30 to 40 percent. That means about 70 percent, 60 to 70 percent dropouts after a period of time, but 30 to 40 percent did understand, internalize and start this whole thing. And in fact, a few of them got employed in the IT sector directly, industry, which in India is booming. Some of them got place in industry. The performance vis-a-vis the second point is modest, reasonable, not something we can claim is a big thing.
>> SHADI ABOU-ZAHRA: I'd like to rehighlight Christophe's presentation which also talks about how to deal with the participants after a training, what to do after that. I think that was particularly important.
Okay. We have another question, Gerry. Please go ahead.
>> GERRY ELLIS: Good morning. Gerry Ellis from Dublin, Ireland. Thanks to all the speakers. They were really good. Very interesting, I must say.
Questions specifically for Hiroshi, and about the EPUB3 and DAISY4 collaboration or joining together, which sounds really exciting.
In the old days, back years ago when html was the main tool for using Web sites, and we had W3C standards, when we thought all our problems would be solved because people would follow standards and everything would be sorted, but we find that some people follow the standards, some don't. One of the strengths that helped us along the lines was the production of the authoring tools guidelines which helped to ensure that people would follow the content guidelines.
I'm wondering what you are saying about the EPUB standards would make documents and so on accessible right from the beginning. Are we going to run into the same problems? In other words, with within EPUB3, do people have the choice of including the accessibility aspects that are required? Or will they have the choice to either use them or not use them as they feel fit? I hope I made myself clear.
>> HIROSHI KAWAMURA: Thank you, Gerry. My answer is, I share the same concern, because accessibility components already are in the standard, but it's up to the creator, if they make use of it correctly or badly.
So therefore, the consortium's role is to establish good guidelines, accessibility guidelines for EPUB3 contents, and good development, development of very good tools to create accessible content.
And the same experience as we had for the html, and W3C established the way. So we the consortium will share the same experience, and I hope we are going to present very good guidelines for the publishing industry, so that all publishers may follow.
>> SHADI ABOU-ZAHRA: Yeah, from the perspective of W3C we share exactly the same perspective. It's really the issue of the authors. The person creating the content is very often not technical, maybe not as accessibility aware as they should be, to actually be able to create accessible content, and there the tools are fundamental. The more we can get the tools to support those authors and creators in creating accessible content, the more likely we will get accessible content, rather than to have to retrofit it later on, at much more expensive in terms of time and effort.
Are there more questions from the floor? We have a question in the front. Go ahead.
>> Hi, I'm Sam Mubalik from Assistive Technology Centre. The question is for Mr. Fernando. You mention that open source technology is a very good aspect in software development to increase accessibility and so forth.
So one of the things that you mentioned is translating the softwares into the native language, and how open source would actually help that. One of the key or main problems that we face is Arabic software, or especially accessibility software, and the majority of the users, especially blind users, have the problem of actually struggling to learn Arabic. So if you give them an English software, they will even be harder for them. And that is one of the things we are facing now with an online library that we partner with Book Share to provide people with log-ins to the library. But we don't get anyone that is interested, because it's all in English.
Even the browsers are in English and so forth. So what are the obstacles and how do you overcome them, where translating into the native language, especially if there is anything concerning R tail and non R tail script?
>> FERNANDO BOTELHO: Thank you for that question. We in the F123 project, we have been actively seeking partnerships in two languages in the last two years; one is French and the other one is Arabic.
We have talked to Victal, I forget the Arab --
>> SHADI ABOU-ZAHRA: Arab ICT organisation.
>> FERNANDO BOTELHO: Exactly. We have also talked to a couple people from Dubai, I think it was. The key here, I think, is to find some organisation such as those that wants to bridge the enormous gap between wealthy Arabic speaking countries, and less developed Arabic-speaking countries, by helping those countries access technologies that are free to use.
Our idea is to get work that has already been done. There is the Arab ubuntu, version of ubuntu in Arabic that we can adapt. The work that has to be done is in one of the projects that I mentioned earlier, which is eSpeak, which is open source speech synthesizer, that is very flexible, and is perfectly possible to adapt it to the Arabic language.
I have also been in contact -- I should comment, there is an international, some of them are, some organisations are picky about publicizing what they do until they sign contracts. But there is an international organisation that has been in touch with me about finding ways to develop some of these languages in open source synthesizers, not just in Arabic, but in languages in, from Asia, for example, because there is a large amount of languages that are not financially interesting for commercial speech synthesis companies.
But they are very much needed, so there are international organisations interested in doing this. There are potential funders. There is interest all around. It has just been a difficult task to bring it all together.
So if we can talk later on, I will definitely welcome a chance to talk with you about how we can proceed.
>> Definitely. Thank you.
>> SHADI ABOU-ZAHRA: Great. As an Arabic speaker myself, I'm very excited about that. Yes. Please go ahead.
>> I'm Eric Agundi, student at Kenya Society for the Blind. I'm an environmental engineer by training, and ICT enthusiast.
I want to thank the speakers for their enlightenment. And I was keenly listening to the first two speakers who were talking about -- it's been two months since I had a tragic accident. So I'm very keenly interested in what the first two guys were talking about. My challenges at the moment in the last two months or so, I've just realized that the technologies are really expensive.
For example, about my mobile phone now has to be speak, it has to be speech, the voices, the synthesizers. I was therefore keenly listening to what the first two guys were talking about, and especially, and all the speakers. And I wanted to therefore thank you so much for enlightening.
And just an enlightenment, I also want to inquire from anyone, from the speakers, I work for a company, an oil company, and I realise I'll be heading back to work in the next three months. At the moment, I'm just adapting to this world. And therefore, my challenge as I look forward to heading back to work, I do environmental audits and all that. Therefore, I wanted a bit of enlightenment in that area.
I do inspections, and one thing I've realized is that I might not be able to do that, especially auditing stations and all that. Therefore, anyone of the speakers can enlighten me in that area, if it's possible, or if it's not possible. Thank you.
>> SHADI ABOU-ZAHRA: Fernando, go ahead.
>> FERNANDO BOTELHO: My suggestion is that do not assume automatically that you will not be able to perform your duties, since the key aspect of what you can offer a company is your knowledge, rather than your sight.
Sometimes it is possible, obviously, seeing in the process of inspection is important. So sometimes it's possible for you to train a sighted assistant that can go with you, and describe to you key aspects of what you want to inspect.
So you have not lost your knowledge and you have not lost your experience. That is a key aspect to think about.
Then, if you come to the conclusion that the possibility of finding or working with an assistant that does descriptions for you is not possible for some reason, talk to human resources in your company.
You have to remember that no two persons are alike. This is the case with sighted people, and this is the case with blind people.
So I may not have any experience in environmental inspection or compliance and so forth, and I may have completely different talents to yours. So just because one other person is not able to do what you do, don't assume you cannot do it.
I think what we have all learned, everybody here, is that you have to be your own advocate, and you should never assume that just because somebody has never done what you wanted to do, that that is impossible. Nothing is automatically impossible. You can only really know that something is not possible until you actually try it in multiple ways. And maybe it works. Maybe it doesn't. You have to be flexible. Just don't give up because it's something completely new.
>> MARTIN GOULD: I would echo Fernando's comments and add one or two small others. First, you may not be alone. I think coming to a meeting such as this will put you in touch with many people who may have some similar experiences, and certainly for you getting the opportunity to talk with members of the DCAD committee here may allow you to access a much broader network of professionals and individuals who may have some great experiences to share with you.
Second, judging from the way you hold yourself out, and your knowledge, you already recognize that you, despite stereotypes, are better than others may think you are, and you can do much more than others may think you can do already. Thank you.
>> A moment, please. A moment from remote participation, they are getting a lot of echo. They are requesting if you can speak a little bit slower.
>> SATISH BABU: I'd like to mention one aspect in relation to the question raised right now, that currently, the computing platforms are mostly the laptops and the net books and so on. The mobile platforms are emerging, but what is exciting about the mobile platforms is also the extensions to the mobile phones, which is tablets, running Android, which is an open source operating system, and this combination of a personal computing device with an open source platform, and a platform that has got many, very powerful APIs, APIs are interfaces with hardware devices, including meters and sensors and cameras and GPS and so on. This combination is actually emerging as a very important platform for computing for the disabled.
Even while people are actually traveling, or working as it were in an office, any kind of, actually these devices enable whole new kind of working with computers, which is very different from laptop or desktop, which requires both your hands, it requires you to sit down and a table to place the laptop. The pads, slates, these do not require any of these things. You can work with one hand. These are emerging as new platforms. A couple things like text to speech and speech synthesis, I think this is going to be, I don't know how strong the open source community in Kenya is, but with DCAD and others to help you, Android is also pleased to look for solutions. Thank you.
>> SHADI ABOU-ZAHRA: Thank you. Yes. The members of the Dynamic Coalition on Accessibility and Disability, DCAD, are here in the room. The presenters of this session and the next session, I do encourage you to try and grab them. There is a lot of knowledge in the room.
Judy, was there a question on line? No. Okay.
So, we did run out of time. But I have one more question from Martin. I'm not going to let him get off the hook that easily.
One of the questions that was on the tip of my tongue is, we saw how the policies cover certain areas. But we didn't really see kind of the level of implementation, say the quality of service. For instance, if we say X percent sign language, or captioning, how much is that really being done 24/7? Those kind of questions, without trying to put you on the spot, but is this something you are going to pursue in future surveys, maybe?
>> MARTIN GOULD: Yes, Shadi, actually, thank you very much. That is an excellent question.
We have in fact included additional data collection points to get at some of the quality issues that you just raised. Every one of the questions dealing with policies and programmes I believe does include an additional subquestion about level of implementation. So if a country respondent indicates that, yes, they are in fact implementing a policy or programme in line with any of the articles of the convention, dealing with digital accessibility, the next subquestion is, to what extent does the policy or programme being implemented work?
We also do ask several questions around percent of implementation, particularly of programmes dealing with policies around eKiosks, automatic teller machines, percent of television programmes that are captioned, and accessible and the like.
So, yes, we are digging much deeper to get more at the quality of programmes and policies, and their accessibility for country citizens. Thank you.
>> SHADI ABOU-ZAHRA: Great, excellent. Thank you very much. Yeah, I'd like to thank my speakers again very much, and thank you for your participation.
Please hold on to the next session as well, very related, they are both feeder sessions into tomorrow's morning session on diversity and access and diversity.
So, yeah, please stay on for the next session of the Dynamic Coalition on Accessibility and Disability. Thank you very much.
(session ends at 10:29.)
- Parent Category: IGF 2011