IBM HA&AC Plays Leading Role in Developing the Toolkit
May, 2009. Hammamet, Tunisia, North Africa. Two global organizations unveil an important development. It has all the elements of a great adventure story – a great accessibility adventure.
The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and the Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communications Technologies (G3ict), a flagship initiative of the United Nations Global Alliance for ICT and Development, chose Tunisia to unwrap a first-of-a-kind toolkit that addresses the needs of policymakers and regulators across a broad range of government agencies and ministries in countries that are implementing the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
More than 400 participants from 40 countries gathered at the Second International Conference on Information and Communications Technologies and Accessibility (ICTA 09) came to Africa to get a first glimpse of the "e-Accessibility Policy Toolkit for Persons with Disabilities" and to work on other important global accessibility issues.
IBM played a leading role in the development of the toolkit. Accessibility standards and solutions experts from the Human Ability and Accessibility Center (HA&AC) and Software Group provided extensive peer review for all ten chapters of the toolkit and the HA&AC served as editorial manager and content lead for Chapter Two, which explores the impact of global demographic changes, and patterns of technology diffusion and use. The toolkit strongly aligns with IBM's strategic position on accessibility standards and regulations and will play a major role in raising global awareness of the economic benefits of accessible ICTs. Conference participants agreed that the toolkit is an important tool to foster harmonization and the sharing of best practices among decision makers involved in e-Accessibility.
"The launch of the toolkit is a landmark event as its availability will help bootstrap the world population in adopting human rights for people with disabilities. From an industry veteran's perspective, this is huge," says Rich Schwerdtfeger, IBM Distinguished Engineer, IBM Software Group Accessibility Architect/Strategist.
In addition to the drama of unveiling the new toolkit, the ICTA 09 provided a stage for participants to present research related to ICT and e-accessibility. Panels and a number of breakout sessions addressed new trends and challenges, emerging technologies and progress in Information and Communication Technologies standards. The conference covered state-of-the-art technologies, theoretical concepts, standards, product implementations, ongoing research projects and innovative applications of e-learning and e-accessibility. IBM, a leader in the creation of new web accessibility standards, gave a forward-looking keynote address on Web 2.0 accessibility and the need for a Personalized Web (PDF, 37KB, link resides outside of ibm.com).
Out of Africa and into the hands of people charged with implementing the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities worldwide, this Toolkit will surely help an accessibility adventure begin.