Internet Governance

Sustainable capacity building for Internet Accessibility for the Disabled

Chair: Gunela Astbrink (Australia)

This workshop was to build capacity to advocate for change so that people with disabilities no matter where they live can participate in the internet economy and benefit from opportunities for employment, education, and recreational pursuits as are enjoyed by the rest of the population. The presentation was to develop tools for working with government and industry so that the internet can be more accessible for people with disabilities. Barriers to accessibility to the internet are physical, visual, language, auditory and understanding content. Workshop participants experienced impaired vision as an example of what some users have to cope with. New technologies offer new opportunities to reduce the impact of some disabilities. Some strategies to help people with disabilities include: creating products right from the start which consider the needs of the whole community – able-bodied AND disabled users – an inclusive design; enable mobility features so that access is available to all types of services (banking, chat rooms, blogs, social networks). This allows a level playing field; iPHONE from Apple includes a built-in reading programme so that blind users can type in and read text messages; vision-impaired user would also benefit from screen magnifiers, tags to describe graphic elements, screen reading programmes: Other users would appreciate captions, sign language, real time text conversation.