IGF 2018 WS #45 1.3 Billion Reasons for Making Technology Accessible

Format: 

Round Table - 90 Min

Organizer 1: Andrea Saks, G3ict
 

Speaker 1: Gunela Astbrink, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 2: Muhammad Shabbir, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 3: G. Anthony Giannoumis, Technical Community, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
 

Additional Speakers: 

Derrick L. Cogburn, Executive Director, Institute on Disability and Public Policy (IDPP)

Shadi Abou-Zahra, World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)

Relevance: 

The workshop is directly linked to the issues on accessibility for persons with disabilities. The core issues will be described by international experts on accessibility for persons with disabilities. The workshop participants will discuss how to move forward to achieve an inclusive society, updating some of the issues discussed at previous DCAD workshops at past IGF annual meetings. (e.g., workshop at IGF2017 at: https://www.intgovforum.org/multilingual/index.php?q=filedepot_download/... ; workshop at IGF2016 at: http://www.intgovforum.org/multilingual/index.php?q=filedepot_download/4... , etc.)

Session Content: 

Over one billion people worldwide - about 15% of the world's population - experience some form of disability, reported by WHO in 2011(http://www.who.int/disabilities/world_report/2011/report/en/). An analysis (Global Economics of Disability report from 5th Quadrant Analytics at: http://returnondisability.com/disability-market/) shows the figure reaches 1.3 billion now. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) stipulates that ratifying countries ensure that persons with disabilities (PWD) enjoy their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others. It also explicitly stipulates that ratifying countries shall take appropriate measures to ensure information accessibility for PWD. It is clear that the rapidly evolving ICT technologies will play an important role in this manner.

However, those PWD still frequently face barriers towards their full and effective participation in society. The situation vary according to country, and there is a clear gap between developing and developed countries. This gap would be widen if no appropriate consideration is taken in an efficient and effective manner.

The workshop will address several country case studies in implementing UNCRPD, to facilitate the understanding of current issues, and will discuss how to move forward toward a truly inclusive society.

Background paper - Case studies and issues to be presented by DCAD members

• Inclusive Smart Cities To be presented by Andrea J. Saks, DCAD Coordinator, and by Gerard Ellis, Feel The BenefIT

Smart cities should exist to serve the needs of society, not the other way round. This includes accommodating the needs of persons with disabilities and older persons by eliminating the digital divide that denies those needs. Smart City designs, implementations and continuous development should be based on incorporating tried and trusted criteria such as Worldwide Web Consortium standards and Universal Design, but also new and innovative approaches. Central to all these efforts should be putting the person first, thus resulting in solutions with inclusion and diversity at their heart.

• Accessible IoT To be presented by Gunela Astbrink, Women With Disabilities Australia

People with disability can benefit from various applications related to the Internet of Things (IoT). Currently, people with disability use ambient assistive technologies that are especially designed to support independent living. This may include control of lighting, doors, heating, entertainment and security systems integrated through accessible interfaces. These assistive technologies have been expensive. IoT applications for the smart home environment mean that these type of systems are now becoming mainstream. However, interoperability with existing assistive technologies as well as accessible user interface design need to be taken into account so new barriers are not created. An outline of the implications, advantages and potential barriers of IoT for persons with disability will be provided together with a discussion of the importance of raising accessibility to IoT applications in policy, research and technical arenas.

• Public procurement and its role in increasing accessibility to technology
To be presented by Gunela Astbrink, Women With Disabilities Australia

Government purchasing (or public procurement) of ICT can positively influence the widespread availability of affordable and accessible technology for persons with disabilities.

Increasing the availability of accessible technology is a positive step in removing barriers that prevent persons with disabilities from participating equitably in society. The primary aim of including accessibility criteria in ICT public procurement is to provide more equitable access to ICT equipment for government employees with disabilities. However, it can have significant flow-on effects for increased ICT accessibility to the broader community.

USA and the European Union as well as Australia have adopted either guidelines or a standard underpinning the process of accessibility in public procurement. An update of the implementation and effect of these guidelines and the standard will be provided.

• Case Study on Lifelong Learning Experiences of Persons with Cognitive and Psychosocial Disabilities in Higher Education in Norway
To be presented by G. Anthony Giannoumis, Oslo Metropolitan University

According to UNCRPD, States Parties have an obligation to “ensure an inclusive education system at all levels and […] that persons with disabilities are able to access general tertiary education, vocational training, adult education and lifelong learning without discrimination and on an equal basis with others”. This presentation uses the obligations under the CRPD as a point of departure to explore the experiences of persons with cognitive and psychosocial disabilities in higher education in Norway. Cognitive disabilities typically refer to the interaction between a person with impairments related to performing mental tasks such as memory, problem-solving, attention, and comprehension – e.g., attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, dyslexia, or Down syndrome – and attitudinal and environmental barriers that hinder their participation in society. Psychosocial disabilities refer to the interaction between a person with impairments related to their mental health – e.g., autism spectrum disorder, anxiety and depression, and bipolar disorder – and attitudinal and environmental barriers that hinder their participation in society. The case study draws on the lived experiences of an academic with a psychosocial disability and their interactions teaching computer science students with both cognitive and psychosocial disabilities. The case study explores the institutionalization of ableism in academia, the stigmas associated with cognitive and psychosocial disabilities in academia, and the duality of various forms of educational technology in both facilitating access to education and triggering mental health episodes.

• Accessibility Challenges: Differences in Developed and Developing Countries?
To be presented by Muhammad Shabbir, Board of Directors of ISOC Islamabad Pakistan Chapter Accessibility to the available technology for an estimated 1 billion persons around the world who live with a disability and experience daily barriers towards their full and effective participation in society is a constant challenge everywhere. However, in developing countries, this challenge is increased due to multiple reasons, including but not limited to: low income vs high cost of technology; absence of accessibility policy or gap between policy and practice; lack of awareness about accessibility by developers, service providers and PWDs; and lack of accessibility training. The governments, IGOs and NGOs try to overcome these challenges. This paper will talk about the accessibility challenges from the perspective of PWDs that they face in developing countries.

• How standards makes technology accessible and the need for harmonization of standards
To be presented by Judith Hellerstein, Founder/CEO of Hellerstein & Associates

When websites, applications, or other software are not standards- based or based on open standards, millions of people are not able to use them. As economic activity and basic tools of civic participation move online, persons with disabilities and specific needs face the most serious challenges in accessing economic opportunities and government services. Similarly, cultural, education and employment opportunities are tied inexorably to Internet access, and the inability of accessing many websites and applications deepens and amplifies existing inequities.

However, often web sites, applications, technologies, or tools are badly designed and create barriers that exclude people from using the Web. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities recognizes access to information and communications technologies, including the Web, as a basic human right. Accessibility supports social inclusion for people with disabilities as well as others, such as older people, people in rural areas, and people in developing countries.

Many websites and tools are developed with accessibility barriers that make it difficult or impossible for some people to use them. Pictures or images without out alternative descriptions embedded int eh text cannot be seen or read by screen readers. Captchas which are now mandatory on most sites are often barriers to people using screen readers, keyboard clicks or other types of access tools are barriers to entry, audio files without transcripts are inaccessible to deaf people, also many web conferencing software are not accessible or very difficult to use for people using screen readers.

• Accessibility as a precondition to participation and inclusion
To be presented by Lidia Best, Vice President of European Federation of Hard of Hearing People (EFHOH)

UNCRPD Article 9 'Accessibility' is very clear on the importance of accessibility for inclusion and participation of PWD in the employment education and in society in general. In the advent of emerging technologies we are constantly playing a catch up ensuring accessibility for those who experience hearing difficulties and we are still seeing lack of understanding of the universal access needs for this group.

It is therefore important to understand need of including persons with disabilities with lived experience in design and testing of new products from the beginning. The international advocates have created a very powerful video on the issue of access "Don't leave me out", let’s ensure that no one gets left out in the future.

Workshop Agenda:

  • Introduction to the workshop by the moderator
  • Brief presentations by accessibility experts to raise issues
  1. Inclusive Smart Cities | Accessible IoT
  2. Public procurement and its role in increasing accessibility to technology
  3. Case Study on Lifelong Learning Experiences of Persons with Cognitive and Psychosocial Disabilities in Higher Education in Norway
  4. Accessibility Challenges: Differences in Developed and Developing Countries?
  5. How standards makes technology accessible and the need for harmonization of standards
  6. Accessibility as a precondition to participation and inclusion
  • Open discussion stimulated by the onsite moderator
  • Wrap-up of the discussion
Interventions: 

The moderator of the workshop will at the beginning take a roll call of all the participants and their affiliations, so that the moderator can call on individuals to comment on subject pertaining to their interest. A list of questions will be prepared in advance to ask both the speakers and the audience so that the discussion will be interactive and inclusive.

Diversity: 

The workshop speakers are selected taking into consideration the diversity of gender, geographical distribution, developing or developed countries, stakeholder group, and persons with disabilities.

Online Participation: 

There will be designated onsite moderator for remote participation. The workshop will use the ITU Guidelines for supporting remote participation in meetings for all (http://www.itu.int/pub/T-TUT-FSTP-2015-ACC). The moderator will have the full list of remote participants and their affiliations. Should there be persons who are blind participating remotely who cannot access directly the remote participation tool, because they are not able to access the 'hand-raising' mechanism with their screen reader, they will be recognized by the Chair during all question & answer sessions so that they are able to make comments directly.

Discussion Facilitation: 

The moderator of the workshop will at the beginning take a roll call of all the participants and their affiliations, so that the moderator can call on individuals to comment on subject pertaining to their interest. A list of questions will be prepared in advance to ask both the speakers and the audience so that the discussion will be interactive and inclusive.

Onsite Moderator: 

Gerry Ellis

Online Moderator: 

Kaoru Mizuno

Rapporteur: 

Kaoru Mizuno

Agenda: 

10:00  Introduction to the workshop by the moderator, Gerry Ellis

10:15  Presentation on "Internet of Things and Accessibility" by Gunela Astbrink (remote presentation)

10:28  Presentation by  Shadi Abou-Zahra (remote participation)

10:41  Presentation on "Accessibility Challenges: Differences in Developed and Developing Countries?" ,by Muhammad Shabbir Awan

10:54  Presentation on "Disability and Accessibility Discussions at Twelve Years of IGF and in the SDGs Through Computational Text Mining", by Derrick L. Cogburn

11:07  Presentation on "Case Study on Lifelong Learning Experiences of Persons with Cognitive and Psychosocial Disabilities in Higher Education in Norway", by G. Anthony Giannoumis

11:20  Q & A

11:35 Closing remarks by the moderator, Gerry Ellis

 

Report: 

IGF 2018 Pre-Session Synthesis & Short Report Template

Pre-Session Synthesis Due: 2 November 2018

Short Report Due: Within 12 hours of when session is held

[sample report here]

 

 
 

 

 

 

- Session Type (Workshop, Open Forum, etc.):

 

- Title: 1.3 Billion Reasons for Making your Technology Accessible

 

- Date & Time:  Day 2, Nov 13, 10:10 – 11:40

 

- Organizer(s): Andrea Saks, Dynamic coalition on Accessibility and Disability (DCAD) coordinator

 

- Chair/Moderator: Gerry Ellis

 

- Rapporteur/Notetaker: 

 

- List of speakers and their institutional affiliations (Indicate male/female/ transgender male/ transgender female/gender variant/prefer not to answer):

 

  • Gunela Astbrink, Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
  • Shadi Abou-Zahra, World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
  • Muhammad Shabbir, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group
  • Derrick L. Cogburn, Executive Director, Institute on Disability and Public Policy (IDPP)
  • G. Anthony Giannoumis, Technical Community, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

 

- Theme (as listed here):

Digital Inclusion & Accessibility

- Subtheme (as listed here):

Persons with disabilities

- Please state no more than three (3) key messages of the discussion. [150 words or less]

  • Accessibility is not just for persons with disabilities only, but everyone can benefit from it. Universal design principal 'Necessary for some - good for everyone’ should be implemented. 
  • Internet of Things (IoT) issues such as privacy and security are key concerns generally but potentially harmful for people with disability.
  • It is important to remove barriers to accessibility, by awareness raising of accessibility in general, technology and accessibility standards, as well as providing training.

 

- Please elaborate on the discussion held, specifically on areas of agreement and divergence. [150 words] Examples: There was broad support for the view that…; Many [or some] indicated that…; Some supported XX, while others noted YY…; No agreement…

Five topics related to accessibility were presented at the workshop, followed by questions and answers, to share information on good practices, case studies and challenges. The topics include: web accessibility; IoT; text mining method for IGF discussion analysis; learning experiences in persons with persons with Cognitive and Psychosocial

Disabilities. The messages to remove barriers to accessibility were well received by audience.

- Please describe any policy recommendations or suggestions regarding the way forward/potential next steps. [100 words]

 

Accessibility should be considered from the designing phase of implementation of technologies, to avoid costly efforts to rectify barriers. Interoperability of ICT technologies is vital, especially for emerging technologies, such as IoT, etc. IoT and accessibility for persons with disabilities should be addressed in policy, research and technical settings. Implementing international standards will help the process, and will improve the provability of interoperability of products and services. Persons with disabilities should be included in all levels of society, including policy decision process, implementing the motto “nothing about us, without us”.

 

 

- What ideas surfaced in the discussion with respect to how the IGF ecosystem might make progress on this issue? [75 words]

There are 1.3 billion persons with disabilities globally, and they experience daily barriers towards their full and effective participation in society. This is a constant challenge everywhere, especially in developing countries, this challenge is increasing. There are multiple reasons in developing countries, including but not limited to: low income vs high cost of technologies; absence of accessibility policy or gap between policy and practice; lack of awareness about accessibility in general and training.  

 

 

 

- Please estimate the total number of participants.

Around 30 participants were present.

 

- Please estimate the total number of women and gender-variant individuals present.

Approximately 15 women participated in the workshop.

 

- To what extent did the session discuss gender issues, and if to any extent, what was the discussion? [100 words]

The session did not directly address issues related to gender equality and/or women’s empowerment. However, the session focused on the equal opportunity of everyone especially persons with disabilities including women with disabilities.    

Session Time: 
Tuesday, 13 November, 2018 - 10:10 to 11:40
Room: 
Salle III

Contact Information

United Nations
Secretariat of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF)

Villa Le Bocage
Palais des Nations,
CH-1211 Geneva 10
Switzerland

igf [at] un [dot] org
+41 (0) 229 173 678