The last week is about accessibility for everyone in everyday life. I think we all have a lot linking to it.
On 1st October 1999 San Francisco unveiled the first accessible (talking) ATM in the United States. I haven’t noticed if any of the ATM I used in the UK has Talking accessibility. Therefore I searched and found that the first Talking ATM might be installed in 2012 in UK. The first ATM in China was installed in the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Shanghai branch in 1988. The first talking accessible ATM was installed in the Industrial Bank Co.,Ltd in 2015 in China.
The National Federation of the Blind in the United States has mounted a campaign The Home Appliance Accessibility Act: seeking sponsorship in 2012 for legislation on domestic appliances. I searched and found the UK law on the design and supply of products. In China, it covers by three laws:
- Law of the People’s Republic of China on Product Quality
- Law of the People’s Republic of China on Protection of Consumer Rights and Interests (CN174)
- General Principles of Civil Law.
It’s good to see and learn the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). I didn’t realise there are many accessibility guidelines existed.
We can easily find an example of home appliances and self-service terminals (SSTs) outside the home which has accessible issues. Therefore everyone should try to avoid creating accessibility barriers using the universal design principles:
- Standards – International Organization for Standardization (ISO, e.g., ISO/IEC Guide 71:2014), World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0)
- Principles – 7 principles of Universal Design, ISO/IEC 40500:2012
- Guidelines on Public Access Terminals
- Best practices – e.g. Choosing cookers, ovens, hobs and microwaves: A guide
In addition, to reduce accessibility barriers, we should involve users in innovative technology research, design and development. The Research Institute for Consumer Affairs (Rica) is a good example. However, bearing in mind that a product shouldn’t make people feel stigmatising (see the first Principle of 7 Principles Universal Design which is ‘Equitable Use’).
So far I have learnt to be aware of accessibility issues and the Accessibility legislation in different countries, remember to refer to the universal design principles to design/choose products, read the WCAG2.0 guidelines to create accessible web content and use document accessibility guidelines to check document accessibility. More I will take into my practices.
At the end, I have to say thank you University of Southampton and the partner universities to help us understand how important the accessible digital technologies are and how we can overcome barriers encountered by people with sensory, physical or cognitive impairments.