UN Uses International Disability Day To Focus On Website
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
December 5, 2006
UNITED NATIONS--The United Nations called on website designers everywhere to build accessibility into their webpages as part of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on Monday.
Access to information and communication technologies creates opportunities for all people, perhaps none more so than persons with disabilities, said Secretary-General Kofi Annan in a prepared statement. "And, as the development of the Internet and these technologies takes their needs more fully into account, the barriers of prejudice, infrastructure and inaccessible formats need no longer stand in the way of participation."
Representatives of some advocacy groups who attended a session on "E-Accessibility" emphasized that failing to make information and communication technologies accessible keeps a large segment of the population -- those who have vision-related disabilities or physical disabilities that make using a mouse difficult or impossible -- from enjoying the same online freedoms and opportunities as everyone else.
Others pointed out that it should be in the interest of anyone who wants to get a message out -- especially retailers -- to make their technologies available to everyone who might want access to that message.
The occasion also marked the launch of a Steering Committee of the Global Initiative for Inclusive Technologies, which brought together representatives from commerce, disability groups, international organizations and universities to discuss possible worldwide standards for technologies.
You dont design accessible websites just for persons with disabilities, but for all of us, said Frances West, Director of IBMs World Wide Human Ability and Accessibility Center.
"Making the Internet more disability-friendly is good business, experts tell UN panel" (United Nations)
"UN reports on dismal state of web accessibility" (Out-Law.com)