Technology's Impact on Diversity
In today’s increasingly “connected” environment, web and non web based technologies are creating more effective communication vehicles for the entire world – unless you have a disability. Technology is accessible to people with disabilities and age related limitations only if it can be used just as effectively by people with disabilities as it can by those without. Many people are surprised to learn just how much of the world’s population is affected by a disability, and how valuable accessible design is to government, private industry, and educational institutions wishing to create an inclusive environment. To understand the impact one has to look no further than the World Health Organization which indicates that people with disabilities are the world’s fastest growing minority group. With the world’s population aging and the likelihood of developing a disability or other mobility limitations increasing with age, the growth in the number of people with disabilities can be expected to rise dramatically. An inclusive and universal design approach to technology is critical to organizations wishing to serve the disabled population, and to tap into the many possibilities now made available through advancements in assistive technology. The purpose of this paper is to review current and pending Worldwide Electronic and Information Technology (E&IT) Accessibility trends, regulation, standards and guidelines and understand their impact on people with disabilities. The objective is to identify and analyze significant issues, risks and opportunities and to develop recommendations to assist E&IT decision makers in planning and positioning so that to take advantage of opportunities. This paper will provide a baseline for monitoring trends in each of these areas and a repository of legislation, regulation, standards, guidelines and best practices to guide E&IT researchers in making decisions with regard to the accessibility of E&IT products, programs, services and information.
Keywords: People with Disabilities, Assistive Technology, Accessible Technology, Technology and Diversity
Founder and President, President, TecAccess