Information and communication technologies (ICT)
Inaccessible ICT products and services are a major barrier to inclusion, preventing people with disabilities from enjoying the facilities at the equal footing with non-disabled people.
We advocate for the inclusion of accessibility requirements among ICT companies, especially within the European regulation concerning technologies including the importance of compatibility with assistive technologies.
Accessibility of ICT products and services are vital for persons with disabilities to participate equally in society. In today’s digitalised world, when technologies are available, affordable and accessible to persons with disabilities, these become a gateway to participate on equal footing with others in most aspects of life, such as in employment, education, access to public services and information, culture, leisure, and health. Accessible technologies also support the independent living of persons with disabilities and assist in overcoming remaining barriers in our societies.
For all these reasons, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities recognises, in its article 9 on accessibility, the need to promote equal access to information and communication technologies and systems, including the Internet, as a fundamental right for to persons with disabilities.
Therefore, we advocate for accessibility of ICT products and services through EU policy and legislation, including through standardisation, in areas such as:
- ICT products and services, such as computers, tablets, smartphones, e-readers, ticketing machines, ATMs, payment terminals, etc. Read more about the accessible technologies, and the European Accessibility Act.
- Digital accessibility: websites, mobile applications, software, or digital content. Read more about web accessibility and the Web Accessibility Directive.
- Media: for example, audiovisual content that includes subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing, audio description or sign language interpretation. Read more about the Audiovisual Media Services Directive.
- Electronic communications, like telephony services, access to the Internet or emergency communications. Read more about accessible telecommunications and the European Electronic Communications Code.
- Emerging technologies: Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, robotics, reality technologies such as Virtual Reality, smart environments, etc. We published a report about emerging technologies.
In many cases, persons with disabilities use assistive technologies, such as Braille display, hearing aids or augmentative and alternative communication devices. We also advocate to ensure that mainstream ICT products and services and assistive technologies can work together seamlessly.