Inclusive information accessibility service environment enables the fruits of technology development shared by all

19 Mar 2018 09:00h - 10:45h

Event report

[Read more session reports from the WSIS Forum 2018]

This session, organised by the Internet Society China, featured Ms Shu Min, from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology in China, who shared current work on information accessibility standardisation in China. This ranged from the 2008 First Web Accessibility Industrial Standardization, to the 2013 Guidelines for Web Content Accessibility, and the 2016 Internet Information Service Assistant System for Blind Persons. Min shed light on technologies that provide intelligent technical solutions for people with disabilities, and intelligent healthcare apps, which have become indispensable but are yet to become more accessible to people with special needs.

Ms Marcella Turner-Cmuchal, project manager at the European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education, explained how the agency helps member countries improve their inclusive education policy, and supports international and European Union policy initiatives on education, equity, equal opportunities, and rights for all learners to have high-quality educational opportunities in their local community.

Turner-Cmuchal highlighted that the agency key activities revolve around:

  • Country policy review and analysis

  • Data collection and statistics

  • External consultancy work

  • Information dissemination

  • Participation in working groups and peer-learning activities

Turner-Cmuchal concluded that there should be four principles guiding the policy-making processes: the rights principle, the structural principle, the all-inclusive principle, and the synergy principle. The speaker also recommended that accessibility be a guiding principle for procurement of all goods and services and that research be promoted in order to develop an evidence base for future policy design and implementation.

Ms Chen Jing, assistant to the Secretary General, Information Accessibility Research Association (Shenzhen), highlighted how the association provides product testing, technical advice, training, and professional solutions to their clients. Jing explained how the government is now seeking advice on information accessibility. The speaker also reminded the audience that ‘China’s Government Information Accessibility Service System’ was Champion of WSIS Prizes in 2017. Jing added that, in December 2017, the Information Accessibility Committee (IAC) was established to speed up the process of information accessibility in China and enhance the usability of Internet products. Jing stressed that if information accessibility could be taken into consideration at the beginning of the product design cycle it would get twice the result with half the efforts.

Mr Yves Veullie, Global Disability & Inclusion Program manager at IBM, shared the company’s practices in facilitating the inclusion of people with disabilities by providing solutions that are specific and tailored to company space in the industry using best cognitive computing capabilities. Veullie also pointed to IBM’s ‘Global Disability Inclusion’ agenda which is built around the three As, standing for Accessibility, Accommodations and Attitude. Veullie concluded that IBM had launched the new ’cognitive eldercare initiative‘, the ’content clarifier‘, and ’Olli‘, a self-driving vehicle complemented by Watson, to make reading, writing and comprehending content easier.

Ms Zhao Yao, division director at the Internet Society of China and Secretary General of the information accessibility working committee of IAC, shared some practices in promoting information accessibility development in China from the publishing of the Chinese first information accessibility technical standards to the initiation of the 2008 Olympic and Paralympic games information accessibility website action and China eGovernment information accessibility public service system.

Yao explained that the mission of the IAC is to gather together the related organisations, research Institutes, Internet companies and all the stakeholders to conduct research on information accessibility technical standards and to set up inclusive standards in addition to taking part in international exchange and cooperation on this field.

By Ines Hfaiedh