Digital Hub for Technology to Enhance Accessibility

Digital technologies now touch all aspects of daily life, but not everyone is able to access these technologies. Now a digital hub for technology designers has been launched, to address the challenges of over one billion people facing disability, literacy, digital literacy or aging related barriers to using technology.

Part of the Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure (GPII), the Developer Space and the Unified Listing are the first digital hub of its kind:  a deep and detailed repository of accessibility tools and resources that can be added into technology design to make it easier for users to adapt digital technology to fit specific needs. “The GPII represents a paradigm shift in e-inclusion,” explained Jutta Treviranus, Director of the Inclusive Design Research Centre (IDRC). The aim of this project is to allow “people with disabilities to assert their right to access the digital world anytime, anywhere without explaining, negotiating or justifying their personal needs.” Currently the Developer Space contains 768 components and tools that developers can integrate into their designs.

One tool, for example, is the Accessibility Masterlist which displays a detailed list of possible disabilities and the multitude of tools and software that can be added accordingly into a design. Visual impairment, for example, brings up a list of ways by which to help a visually impaired end-user. “Reading Aloud and Highlighting” is just one option. This, in turn, brings up a page-long list of links to screen readers, text-to-speech utilities, and large literacy software suites. The tools range from free and open source to software for purchase.

This media release about the launch of the digital hub is a good introduction to this massive undertaking.