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Best Practices for Providing Accessibility in the Mobile Device Industry


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Best Practices for Providing Accessibility in the Mobile Device Industry

  2. 2. Table of ContentsExecutive Summary ................................................................................................................................ 2Introduction............................................................................................................................................. 3U.S. Accessibility Policy ......................................................................................................................... 4 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act .................................................................. 4 Telecommunications Act ..................................................................................................................... 5 The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities ................................................................... 7U.S. Disability Demographics.................................................................................................................. 8 Medical vs. Social Disability Model .................................................................................................... 8 Measuring Disability ........................................................................................................................... 9 U.S. Census Bureau Disability Statistics ............................................................................................ 10 Economics of Disability ..................................................................................................................... 13Universal Design Concept ..................................................................................................................... 15U.S. Mobile Device Industry ................................................................................................................. 17Current Industry Best Practices .............................................................................................................. 18 AT&T- Accessibility Innovation & Sustainability .............................................................................. 18 Universal Design ........................................................................................................................... 19 Integrating Accessibility into Product Development and Value Chain ............................................ 20 Understanding Human Factors ....................................................................................................... 22 AT&T Advisory Panel on Access & Aging .................................................................................... 23 Citizenship & Sustainability Expert Team-Access and Aging ......................................................... 23 Recruitment Practices for Persons with Disabilities ........................................................................ 24 NTT DOCOMO- Universal Design Approach ................................................................................... 25 Dominic Foundation- LUCY Digital Inclusion ................................................................................... 27 Orange- Design for All ...................................................................................................................... 29 U.K. Accessibility Practices ........................................................................................................... 31Analysis of Industry Accessibility Practices ........................................................................................... 32Proposal for Accessibility Standards and Guidelines .............................................................................. 34Conclusion ............................................................................................................................................ 37Acronyms .............................................................................................................................................. 38Bibliography ......................................................................................................................................... 391|Page Mobile Device Industry Accessibility Standards
  3. 3. Executive SummaryNew innovations in mobile technology have drastically changed the technology and the lives ofthe consumers that the industry serves. Smartphones, tablets and cloud computing have alteredthe way we work, communicate, organize document and share our lives. While a great deal ofconsumers anxiously await each new innovation with intense enthusiasm in some cases, someconsumers have been able to take advantage of this new technology. Adapting technology to theneeds of the disabled has usually been a development that has not kept pace with that oftechnology innovation. This new wave of mobile device innovation has started another phase inthe process of providing persons with disabilities access to the world that is equal to thosewithout disabilities.Providing accessibility is complex multi-faceted issues with many perspectives andconsiderations. Accessibility policy, industry standards, business interest and the interest of thedisabled and aging community are all critical factors considered when approaching this issue.Accessibility is a highly debated issue and so far all of the above have not been able to convergeto sufficiently satisfy the interest of all parties affected. As a result there is currently no set ofstandard guidelines to govern how companies approach accessibility in order to best servedisabled consumers and company business interest.The following research will examine accessibility policy, disability demographics and concepts,survey the mobile technology industry as a whole and provide analysis on four companies inorder to find a point of convergence as basis for an accessibility standard. Legislation has been adriving force behind the disability rights for decades and this new challenge of mobile devicesmeeting the needs of the disabled is no different. Disability demographics and concepts areevolving changing the perception what it means to be disabled. The business world’sperspective on disability is beginning to change as well with an increase of buying power andpopulation within the disable and aging population. What was once largely viewed as obligationand compliance is now beginning to be seen as innovation opportunities and potential financialgains. All interested parties now much reach a consensus on a way to leverage these benefits foreach side that can be adapted across the technology industry.2|Page Mobile Device Industry Accessibility Standards
  4. 4. IntroductionThe technology industry has experienced rapid innovations over the past several years changingwhat consumers have come to expect to be possible from a computing device. Developments inmobile technology have made an impact of how consumers communicate, work, shop, dine, plantravel and activities and capture special moments of life. However, with every innovation thereare drawbacks and areas that require much improvement. The innovations in mobile technology,while highly praised and adopted by the majority of consumers, have left several consumersegments without the necessary applications or features to have access to that technology. Thespecific segments are aging adults and persons with disabilities who lack the necessaryaccessibility tools to fully leverage the use of new innovations within the mobile device industry.Accessibility refers the measure of how useable a product is for persons with disabilitiescompared to persons without a disability and the current accessibility gap is quite wide as newtechnology has yet to fully conform to needs of all users.The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that nearly 1 in 5 people have a disability equalingapproximately 57 million people. That is a large segment of the population that this often notconsidered when the latest technological innovations are being developed. Meeting the needs ofthis segment is actually viewed as burden by many companies. While there are policies in placeto ensure that the needs of the disabled and aging population are satisfied, there are also methodscircumventing that obligation. In many cases companies only strive to meet the minimumaccessibility compliance requirements which makes glaringly clear that there is wide disconnectbetween the needs of the disabled and the commitment of the technology industry as a whole tomeet those needs.There are of course some companies in the industry that have made a full commitment toproviding accessible products and services for its customer, however there is little continuityamongst these companies regarding how they provide accessibility. Each has its own processesand methodologies which meet with varying degrees of success. Standardization of accessibilityguidelines and practices across the mobile device industry is vital to more effectively anduniformly meeting the needs of the disabled and aging population.3|Page Mobile Device Industry Accessibility Standards
  5. 5. U.S. Accessibility PolicyThe U.S. has been on the forefront of establishing policies and guidelines to protect the rights ofthe disabled and elderly. U.S. policies address a wide range of accessibility issues frominfrastructure to technology requirements. The two most relevant U.S. accessibility policiesaddressing mobile devices are the FCC Telecommunications Act and the Twenty-First CenturyCommunications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA). The United Nations initiatedConvention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) was also adopted by the U.S. insupport of a concerted global effort to address disability issues.21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility ActThe CVAA was signed into law in 2010 in order to update federal communications law toincrease access to modern devices for persons with disabilities. Recent innovations in digitaltechnology, broadband service and mobile devices has made past accessibility laws subject tobecoming obsolete. The act specifically focuses on communications access and videoprogramming establishing the following guidelines: (9) Communication Access:  Advanced communication products and services are required to be accessible by persons with disabilities. Advanced communication services are defined as VoIP, electronic messaging, and video conferencing services.  Mobile device web browsers are required to be accessible to blind or visually impaired users (a “ramp” to the internet on mobile devices).  Establishes recordkeeping requirements, more stringent deadlines for responses to consumer complaints, and biennial reporting to Congress.  Establishes clearinghouse for FCC on accessible communications and equipment  Expands applicability of hearing aid compatibility to telephone-like equipment used in conjunction with advanced communications products and services.  Definition of telecommunications relay services are updated to include persons who are deaf-blind and allow communication between various types of relay users  Grants FCC authority to pursuit action to ensure reliable access to 9-1-1 service by persons with disabilities.(8)4|Page Mobile Device Industry Accessibility Standards
  6. 6. Video Programming:  Video programming that is closed captioned on TV must be closed captioned with broadcast over the internet.  Emergency information must be conveyed in an accessible manner for the blind or visually impaired by programming distributors, providers and owners.  Expands accessibility requirements for video programming equipment to have the capability of displaying closed captions on devices with screens smaller than 13 inches which include portable TVs, laptops, smart phones etc. These devices are also required to be able to convey video descriptions and emergency information that is accessible to persons who are blind or visually impaired if technically possible and achievable.  Requires interconnection mechanisms (cables) to transmit (from source device to equipment which includes TVs) the information necessary to allow the display of closed captions and make video description and emergency audible.(8)Telecommunications ActThe Telecommunications Act of 1996 was a vital update to telecommunications policy and thefirst in over 60 years. The intent of the act was to eliminate the barriers to entry intocommunications industry allowing for more extensive competition. Section 255 of theTelecommunications Act was included to establish rules that require electronic devices to bemade accessible to persons with disabilities if readily achievable. In cases where accessibility isnot achievable, device manufactures and services providers must ensure compatibility withperipheral devices and specialized equipment that is commonly used by persons with disabilities.The FCC has also determined that VoIP providers must comply with Section 255. A consumerguide to providing accessibility was developed in addendum to Section 255 in order to create aframework for companies to better serve persons with disabilities. The guide covers thefollowing topics. (10) Products and Services Covered by Section 255  All hardware and software telephone network equipment and customer premises equipment (CPE) which is defined as telecommunications equipment used in the home or5|Page Mobile Device Industry Accessibility Standards
  7. 7. office to facilitate telecommunications. This includes telephones, fax machines, answering machines, wireless phones and other mobile devices.  The policy also covers various telecommunications services such as regular telephone service, caller ID, directory assistance, call forwarding, call waiting etc. Identifying Access Needs Companies should identify barriers to access and usability by using the completing the following task:  Engage disabled individuals when conducting market research, product design , testing, demonstrations and product trials  Companies should develop cooperative relationships with disability-related organizations  Companies should take reasonable steps to test accessibility solutions with persons with disabilities Evaluating Access Needs  The accessibility, usability and compatibility of products and services must be evaluated as early and consistently during the design, development and manufacture  Products must be reviewed for accessibility at every “natural opportunity” including product redesigns, upgrades or significant packaging changes Determining Readily Achievable  Companies are required to include accessibility features according to readily achievable standard which are easily accomplished without considerable difficulty or expense.  Companies must compare the cost and aspects of accessibility required with available resources in order to determine readily achievable in effect obligating larger companies to achieve a higher level of accessibility than smaller companies  Readily achievable determinations are made on a case by case basis for which certain factors are considered such as product functionality, usability of features and alterations of product dimensions as a result of providing accessibility6|Page Mobile Device Industry Accessibility Standards
  8. 8. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with DisabilitiesThe CRPD was adopted by the United Nations on December 13, 2006 with the highest numberof opening signatories in UN history. The CRPD is the first human rights treaty of the 21 stcentury and addresses a broad categorization of persons with disabilities and articulates the rightsof the disabled to have access to human rights and fundamental freedoms. The U.S. signed thetreaty nearly three years after its adoption, but has yet to ratify it. The CRPD is a milestonepolicy because it not only condemns discrimination against persons with disabilities, but alsospecifies the legally binding actions that should be taken in order to create a more enablingsociety necessary to facilitate equality for the disabled. There is also a social element included inthe policy which is a new development for many parts of the world and provides a stark contrastto the traditional view of disability. The U.S. already has policy in place to protect the rights ofperson s with disabilities which is may be part of the reason why the CRPD has not been ratifiednullifying its legal enforcement, however U.S. acknowledgement of the treaty does support thefocus on international cooperation that the CRPD emphasizes.(17)The CRPD has eight guiding principles that provide the framework for the policy which are: 1. Respect for inherent dignity and individual autonomy 2. Non-discrimination 3. Full and effective participation and inclusion in society 4. Respect for difference and acceptance of persons with disabilities 5. Equality of opportunity 6. Accessibility 7. Equality between men and women 8. Respect for the evolving capacities of children with disabilities and the right to preserve their identityArticle 9 asserts that persons with disabilities should be enabled to live independently and fullyparticipate in all aspects of life. The CRPD places the responsibility on the states parties toensure persons with disabilities access to information and communications technologies by:  “Promoting access for persons with disabilities to new information and communications technologies and systems, including the Internet”(20)7|Page Mobile Device Industry Accessibility Standards
  9. 9.  “Promoting the design, development, production and distribution of accessible information and communications technologies and systems at an early stage, so that these technologies and systems become accessible at minimum cost.”(20)While the CRPD may not yet provide any legal enforcement in the U.S., it does create a morecomprehensive perspective of disabilities and identify specific measures to be taken in order toeffectively serve the needs of the disabled population. Accessibility is a complex issue withmany factors that require careful consideration. Accessible technology alone is a very broadissue consisting of various facets that need to be addressed in order to have an effective policy.This issue is so broad in fact that one policy cannot effectively protect the disabled population,but rather a comprehensive collection of policies that are able to address a range of specificneeds that affect the degree of access that persons with disabilities have to their environment. U.S. Disability DemographicsPersons with disabilities are often underserved as consumers and in some cases left without anyaccess to certain products and services. One of the major causes is due to a lack of knowledgeand understanding of the needs of the disabled. Until recently the data on the disabledpopulation was limited to only general quantities distinguishing those who are disabled fromthose that are not broken down by disability categories. The methods of measuring of disabilityhave become much more sophisticated and informative. Companies at one point only hadlimited data to use as basis for providing accessible products and determining how to servepersons with disabilities. This limitation led the disabled market to be viewed as a segment thatdid not warrant commercial focus or attention. Now that the basic definition and attitudetowards accessibility shifting, the responsibility of serving persons with disabilities is beginningto look like more of an opportunity than a burden.Medical vs. Social Disability ModelThe traditional medical model of disability defines a disability as a physical, mental orpsychological condition linked to a medical condition that limits a person’s activities. Themodel has recently been recognized as being insufficient in providing an effective orempowering framework in which to promote inclusion for persons with disabilities. The new8|Page Mobile Device Industry Accessibility Standards
  10. 10. model of disability has been expanded to include the medical and social model of disability.Mike Oliver, British author and professor, coined the term social model of disability as startingpoint to reframe how disabilities were perceived, but used this idea along with the traditionalmodel. The social model of disability has created a different perspective on disability shiftingthe focus from a medical viewpoint to one “arising from the interaction of a person’s functionalstatus with the physical, cultural, and policy environments.”(17) According the social model aperson disabled as a function of the interaction with the environment and a person is onlydisabled when lacking the tools to have access to the surrounding environment.This model is much more expansive than the medical model because it also takes into accounttemporary disabilities caused by various circumstances such as an injury, side effects of amedical procedure or any other situation that causes a disability as a specific moment while aperson is attempting to interact with an aspect of their environment. The social model hasprovided empowerment and opportunity for the disabled population to have their needs met aswell as creating more of a responsibility of satisfying those needs. According to the social modela person that is born disabled does not have to remain that way if provided with tools to accesstheir surroundings whether that be services, facilities or technology.(17) Options are created forpersons with disabilities instead of just a permanent diagnosis or label that cannot besurmounted. Persons with disabilities are now empowered to find solutions for a lack of accessto their environment and demand that society provide them the tools necessary to narrow the gapbetween any existing disability and their environment.Measuring DisabilityThe traditional view of human capability labeled people as either able-bodied or disabled and didnot take into consideration that a person’s capability and capacity could potentially changedrastically during a lifetime. Generally seven human capabilities are grouped into threecategories which are: (17)  Sensory-vision and hearing  Cognitive-thinking and communication  Motor-locomotion, read, stretch and dexterity9|Page Mobile Device Industry Accessibility Standards
  11. 11. Many people experience some form of impairment or loss of one of these capabilities duringtheir life for various reasons whether it is temporary or permanent. One of main and most broadreasons for these impairments is aging. The medical model failed to recognize the loss ofsensory, cognitive or motor capability as a person ages as well as the medical advances that havebeen developed to correct these impairments. Due to the lifespan of the population in developcountries, the amount of people that will need accessibility tools and policies not only to givethem access to the world, but also protects there rights increase dramatically.The U.S. Census Bureau was one the first government agencies to shift the disabilitymeasurements towards the more expansive social model. The Census Bureau now uses morefunctional measurements of disability in order to provide more accurate disability demographics.The questions the bureau now asks are more related to the ability to perform certain tasks ratherthan the disclosure of medical history and conditions. Aging adults that develop certain visionimpairments or suffer some measure of hearing loss would not report themselves as being blindor deaf on a survey, but still require some accessibility technology in order to perform everydaytasks. The new methodology uses questions regarding daily activities such as using thetelephone, a computer, or reading in order to identify disabilities.U.S. Census Bureau Disability StatisticsThe U.S. Census Bureau estimates that nearly 1 in 5 people have a disability which translatesinto about 56.7 million people.(5) That is roughly 19 percent of the population was consideredto have a disability in 2010 of which half reported a severe disability. Since the last report of thistype in 2005 the overall number of persons with disabilities rose by 2.2 million and the numberneeded assistance also increased.(5) While these numbers are quite staggering, they do notprovide a sufficient basis to determine what percentage of the population requires accessibletechnology in order to have access to mobile devices.A good starting point to narrow down the approximate number within the disabled populationthat would likely have problems using a mobile device to begin by breaking down the populationaccording to categories which are sensory, cognitive and motor as well as various capabilitiesand severity associated with each (see Table 1):10 | P a g e Mobile Device Industry Accessibility Standards
  12. 12. Category Number Sensory 15.7 millionVision 8.1 millionSevere 2 millionHearing 7.6 millionSevere 1.1 million Cognitive 15.2 millionSpeaking 2.8 millionSevere 523,000Mental function 10.6 millionAlzheimer’s, senility, dementia 2.4 millionLearning disability 3.9 millionIntellectual disability 1.2 millionAutism, cerebral palsy etc. 944,000Other mental conditions 4.7 million Motor 19.9 millionAbility to lift 17.2Severe 2.8 millionAbility to grasp 6.7 millionSevere 893,000Table 1: Disabled population by category and severity Source: U.S. Census Bureau ReportTable 1 indicates that there is an immense disabled population that may require some form ofaccessibility in order to have usable access to a mobile device. The percentage of the populationwith severe disabilities including blindness, deafness, severe mental and learning disorders,inability to speak or to be understood while speaking, difficult grasping objects such as a glass orpencil and the inability to grasp at all will almost certainly have difficulty using a mobile devicerequiring some measure of accessibility.The research the Census Bureau has done allows for more specific measurements than just thebroad categorical numbers above. Measurements regarding the daily activities are also availableto establish more of a solid basis for the need of increased accessible technology. A few11 | P a g e Mobile Device Industry Accessibility Standards
  13. 13. examples of the daily activities measured by the bureau are difficulty using the toilet, eating,bathing, using the phone and dressing. While the data does not specify which type of phone therespondents have difficulty using whether a mobile phone or household phone it is not a stretchto conclude this pool of individuals may require specific accessibility features in order to operatea mobile phone or other type of mobile device. The respondents who had difficulty with bathing,toileting or eating could also have some dexterity issues that could easily translate to difficultyoperating a mobile device. Table 2 highlights the respondents with difficulties performingcertain daily activities that may also include difficulties using a mobile device. Daily Activities Number Difficulty using the phone 2.8 million Needed assistance 1 million Did not need assistance 1.8 million Difficulty eating 1.8 million Needed assistance 1 million Did not need assistance 813,000 Difficulty toileting 2.8 million Needed assistance 1.8 million Did not need assistance 966,000 Difficulty bathing 5.5 million Needed assistance 3.5 million Did not need assistance 2 million Difficulty dressing 4.3 million Needed assistance 2.8 million Did not need assistance 1.5 millionTable 2: Disability measurement by daily activities Source: U.S. Census Bureau ReportThe aging adult population also had a major impact on the census data due to the likelihood of adisability being present with advancing age groups. Those in the oldest age group, 80 years andolder were 8 times or 70.5 percent as likely to have a disability as those in the youngest group of15 years or younger.(1) The occurrence of severe disabilities also increased with age with theprobability of being disabled at 1in 20 for people 15 to 24 and 1 in 4 for those aged 65 to 69.12 | P a g e Mobile Device Industry Accessibility Standards
  14. 14. The accuracy of the results for the older age groups are suspected to be a little inaccurate due toan estimated 1.4 million of people aged 65 and older living in nursing homes.(1) The disabilityrates for the older age group would certainly be higher if that population had been included in theresults.Economics of DisabilityThe economic status of persons with disabilities is a vital factor in addressing accessibility.Equal access to the workforce is a critical component of serving the needs of the disabledpopulation. Persons with disabilities having access to the workforce results in increased buyingpower and resources for a more independent lifestyle. The current economic outlook for thedisabled population is rather disparaging when compared to the non-disabled population.Disability is a key driver of poverty in the U.S. and of the main reasons for the need of greateraccessibility.The U.S. Census estimates that 41.1 percent of disabled individuals aged 21 to 64 wereemployed compared to 79.1 of persons without disabilities during the time census data wasprovided.(1) Once again broad statistics such as these do not reveal the entire scope of theemployment issue within the disabled population. When severity of disability is considered,what is seen is that a larger portion of adults with non-severe disabilities are employed than theirseverely disabled counterparts; 71.2 percent compared to 27.5 percent. Different types ofdisabilities are also accompanied by different employment rates, for example people with acommunicative disability have a higher employment rate, 73.4 percent, than those with othertypes of disabilities.(1) When you compare the employment rate of people with communicativedisabilities to those with a physical or mental disability, which are 40.8 percent and 51.9respectively, a clear indication is shown that not all people with disabilities face the sameemployment challenges. (1)There is also a disparity between the income and expected earning potential of persons withdisabilities. The median monthly income for disabled adults aged 21 to 64 is $1,961compared tothose without disabilities earning $2,724. The median income is even lower for people withsevere disabilities which is $1,577, but higher for those with non-severe disabilities earning amedian income of $2,402. The same divergence amongst disability categories that is seen inemployment rates is also indicated in income measurements. People with a communicative13 | P a g e Mobile Device Industry Accessibility Standards
  15. 15. disability earned a monthly median income of $2,838 which is nearly identical to that of non-disabled persons. However, those with a physical or mental disability earned less with arespective median income of $1,998 and $1,619. People with a combination of all threedisabilities earned $1,051 monthly.(1)While these employment and income statistics can at first glance be considerably disparaging,consideration of another perspective can put the economic situation of the disable into a differentlight. It has been statistically proven that persons with disabilities are likely to on average earnless than those without a disability, but that does not mean that there is an absence of purchasingpower. The way in which these types of comparisons are used is a major cause of the disabledpopulation being underserved. The worth of persons with disabilities as consumers isconsistently being measured as a comparison to those with disabilities and even though thedisabled earn less on average it does not make them less valuable as consumers.The U.S. Department of Labor estimated that in 2002 the discretionary income of the disabledmarket has grown to $175 billion.(4) At that time the disabled population had four times thepurchasing power of the tweens (8-14 year olds) which are heavily marketed and catered to bybusinesses. According to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) that four millionAmericans a year reached the age of 50 and people in the 50 and over age group spent nearly$400 billion in 2003. People in this age group are also more likely to develop age-relatedimpairments that could affect hearing, mobility, vision, and cognition. The AARP also assertsthat due to this fact people aged 50 and over tend to patronage businesses that provide servicesand products to accommodate their needs. Another study states that the 50 and older age groupcomprises 25 percent of the U.S. population, but controls 50 percent of the purchasing power and75 percent of the nation’s assets totaling $150 billion in discretionary income.(4) While thesenumbers are dated, they do provide a frame of reference for a general assessment of the financialpower of the disabled population and the potential financial gains companies can realize bybetter meeting their needs. It is possible to make some rough estimates of the current purchasingpower of the disabled population through the use of the U.S. Census data. Considering thatnearly 57 million persons with disabilities have a median monthly income of nearly $2,000, itcan be estimated that the disabled population has an aggregate purchasing power of over a $1.3trillion!14 | P a g e Mobile Device Industry Accessibility Standards
  16. 16. Universal Design ConceptAccording the C.R.P.D., Universal Design (UD) means the design of products, environments,programs and services to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the needfor adaptation or specialized design and shall not exclude assistive devices for particular groupsof persons with disabilities where this is needed.(20) Using the term Universal Design whileaddressing accessibility can cause some confusion, however the two are closely related.Accessibility, which was previously defined, is a part of Universal Design just focusing thedisabled population. While accessibility efforts are certainly necessary to ensure the personswith disabilities have access to products and services, Universal Design is the overarching goalwith products and services designed to not only be accessible, but usable by the most extensiverange of people possible. Accessibility and Universal Design each specific principles which areclosely related and in some cases overlap.The term Universal Design was coined in the 1980s but popularized by architect Ron Mace whofounded the Center for Universal Design in 1989 at the North Carolina State School of Design.His view of Universal Design was ”The intent of universal design is to simplify life for everyoneby making products, communications, and the built environment more usable by as many peopleas possible at little or no extra cost.(12) Universal design benefits people of all ages andabilities.” His pioneering work in accessible design played an instrumental role in the passage ofseveral pieces of legislation including The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. The centerwhich he founded and is also a part of his legacy developed seven principles of UniversalDesign: (11)  Principle One: Equitable use The design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities  Principle Two: Flexibility in use The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities  Principle Three: Simple and intuitive use Use of the design is easy to understand, regardless of the user’s experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level  Principle Four: Perceptible information15 | P a g e Mobile Device Industry Accessibility Standards
  17. 17. The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions of the user’s sensory abilities.  Principle Five: Tolerance of error The design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions.  Principle Six: Low physical effort The design can be used efficiently and comfortably and with a minimum of fatigue.  Principle Seven: Size and space for approach and use The design can be used efficiently and comfortably and with a minimum of fatigueThese principles of Universal Design can undoubtedly be utilized in the development ofaccessible products and services as the two concepts do intersect. Applying the concept ofUniversal Design early in the conceptual and developmental phase of any process will result inaccessible design and help eliminate the need for cumbersome and expensive post-productionadjustments.The necessary steps of the Universal Design process include exploration, creation andevaluation. The needs of persons with disabilities and aging adults must first be thoroughlyresearched in order to develop a comprehensive understanding of what is needed to approach theproblem. This is a common pitfall of accessibility efforts. Delving into an accessibility projectwithout a fundamental understanding of how to serve the disabled population can easily turn intoan ineffective attempt that has no impact on the population. Creativity is also essential inexploring ways to address accessibility. Thinking beyond current solutions and being able toinnovate is critical for the progression of accessible design quality as well as frequentlyevaluating the effectiveness of how well the solutions are meeting the needs of the disabledpopulation. Universal Design maybe a separate concept, however when properly applied theresults can be leveraged in the development of accessible solutions. G3ICT’s e-AccessibilityPolicy Handbook defines accessibility as the extent to which persons in a society can liveindependently and participate fully in all aspects of life. According to the handbook anaccessible product has the following features: (17)  Utility- extent to which product provides functionality to meet user needs16 | P a g e Mobile Device Industry Accessibility Standards
  18. 18.  Usability- extent to which product can be used a specific user to achieve specific goals  Accessibility- extent to which is usable to persons with widest range of abilities  Desirability- extent to which ownership and uses leads to satisfaction  Affordability- extent to which the perceived value of the product is greater than its cost  Viability- extent to which the sales of product achieves success for the company  Compatibility- extent to which the product works with other devices and conforms to current standards, guidelines and laws U.S. Mobile Device IndustryThe mobile device is defined as the manufacturing of mobile phones, wireless communicators,handheld computers, and portable media devices.(2) This industry has received a tremendousboost in the last few years due to major innovations in smartphone and tablet technology. Thetotal revenue of the technology industry as a whole was $625 billion in 2010 and while it isdifficult to distinguish the portion of that revenue that can be attributed to mobile device sales, itis safe to say that those sales have an impact.(21) Devices such as Apple’s iPhone and iPad,Samsung Galaxy smartphones as well as other devices selling millions of units at price pointsupwards of $800 have definitely added new life to the technology industry and the enthusiasmfor the industry’s products. The current status of technology usage and concentration in the U.S.currently stands as: (7)  Telephone-main lines: 150 million  Telephones-mobile: 270 million  Internet users: 231 million  DOI: 0.66The DOI or Digital Opportunity Index is used to evaluate a country’s overall information societyaccording the standards of opportunity, infrastructure and utilization of Information andCommunication Technology (ICT). The rankings are on a scale between 0 and 1, currently theU.S. ranks 20th below Germany.(6)17 | P a g e Mobile Device Industry Accessibility Standards
  19. 19. Current Industry Best PracticesAs a whole the technology industry maybe quite a distance from developing standardaccessibility guidelines and methodologies, but there are certain companies that are giving theirdisabled and aging consumer base superior products and services. While many companiesconsider accessibility a burden and seek methods of circumventing the responsibility ofexpanding the inclusion of products, other companies such as AT&T, NTT DoCoMo and Orangehave integrated accessibility in their respective corporate cultures. These companies haverealized that the accessibility of their products cannot reach its full potential in isolation or bedeveloped in silos. Another differentiating factor of these companies is the perspective theyhave developed with regard to accessibility. These companies have recognized the opportunitiesthat accompany accessibility initiatives which include innovation, an expanded consumer baseand increased goodwill. AT&T and Orange both stated in case studies the benefits on making acommitment to accessibility which include cost reductions in making devices accessible anddeveloping a core competency in serving the disabled consumer market. The previouslymentioned companies have been able to create a sizeable differentiation in their accessibilityefforts by thoroughly scrutinizing and documenting their methods. These companies werechosen for analysis because they were among the few companies to actually have availabledocumentation of its accessibility approach.AT&T- Accessibility Innovation & SustainabilityAT&T is one of the best examples of a company that has fully embraced accessibility. Theyhave developed a methodology to provide their disabled and aging consumers with the best products and services possible. Accessibility has become embedded into the AT&T company culture across multiple divisions and business units because it is understood that accessibility at its best doesn’t stop with the addition of features on a product or service. A G3ict case study published in 2011 documented AT&T’s process of establishing afoundation of accessibility in core values of the company. AT&T integrated accessibility into allareas of the company’s value chain from product development to customer service. The specific18 | P a g e Mobile Device Industry Accessibility Standards
  20. 20. areas in which AT&T excels to provide quality products and services to its disabled and agingconsumer base are the following: (13)  Recognizing the benefits of accessibility  Developing a standard Universal Design methodology applicable to all products and services  Integrating accessibility into early stages and throughout product development  Embedding accessibility into the company culture including employee recruitment  Creating panels to obtain input and feedback from consumers and employees  Conducting research to understand disabled and aging market demographics  Leveraging advancements in all company products lines in order to make accessibility improvements  Making Universal Design methodology available to suppliers and third-party developersAt the heart of AT&T’s accessibility initiatives is the company’s recognition of the benefits thatgo along with addressing accessibility. As a matter of fact Alexander Graham Bell’s inventionof the telephone grew out of his attempt to develop the first hearing aid. If such a monumentalinvention such as the telephone grew out such an early accessibility attempt, just think whatother innovations might result as a byproduct of current accessibility initiatives. Accessibilityhas permeated all aspects of AT&T’s value chain and made an impact on the company onmultiple levels from the employees to executive leadership. Universal Design Universal Design is a pivotal factor in the company’s strategy to design its products and services to the usability of its aging and disabled consumer base. However, AT&T has a larger goal with the company’s Universal Design strategy of making its products, services and application available to the widest range of consumers possible considering various circumstances as well as physical, sensory and cognitive limitations. The word disability usually refers to a long-term life altering impairment, but situations that bring about short-term impairments are usually not considered in this scope. In reality one mishap or accident is all it takes to cause a disability whether it is an injury or side effects of a medical procedure at some point a person that is not permanently disabled may also be in need of some type of assistive product. Making a product accessible to those with19 | P a g e Mobile Device Industry Accessibility Standards
  21. 21. disabilities may inadvertently lead to that product being more accessible to other is one of the key ideas of AT&T’s perspective on Universal Design. There are several examples of mobile device features that provide accessible use for persons with disabilities, but also provide for convenience for those without disabilities. One of those features is vibrating features that assist users with hearing loss and also allow prevent another user from causing a distraction in a quiet environment when receiving a call. Another feature is talking caller ID which is essential for a user with vision loss, but can also alert a busy user with perfect hearing exactly who is calling providing the option of not interruption themselves to discover who is calling.(13) AT&T has also looked beyond its internal operations and collaborated with its suppliers in order to push its Universal Design methodology. The company made this information available to persuade the companies to shift more focus on the needs of the aging and disabled consumer and also in hopes of developing innovations as a result of new joint developments. Integrating Accessibility into Product Development and Value Chain The usual approach that many companies take to accessibility is to develop a product and post-production develop methods of making the product accessible. This often means developing accessories, application or services that must then be created for compatibility with the specification so the device. Retrofitting a product for accessibility is not always possible and can be exceptionally costly when possible. AT&T has taken the approach of addressing accessibility from the early stages of product development and throughout to ensure that the product meets the needs of its disabled and aging consumer to fullest extent.(13) While many companies may develop accessible products and include the process involved into the product development to an extent, the marketing of these products is lacking in many cases. The problem that often causes this gap between development and marketing is the motivation of a company to develop an accessible product which is often for compliance. AT&T’s purposes for investing in accessibility reach far beyond compliance to the possibilities of innovation and developing a competitive edge. This is why the company’s advertising and customer service have also been focused on the20 | P a g e Mobile Device Industry Accessibility Standards
  22. 22. meeting the needs of the aging and disabled. AT&T developed an advertising campaign to highlight the accessibility features of the company’s products providing detailed descriptions of the exact benefits to the aging and disabled consumers. This also presented an opportunity to enhance the accessibility of the advertising by person with disabilities. For example, since 2007 nearly all of AT&T’s commercials have been close captioned and company ads have also been run in publications focused on persons with disabilities to have the widest possible in advertising the company’s accessibility efforts.(13) Accessible customer service has also been a major focus of AT&T’s Universal Design strategy. The principle of making customer service available to widest possible range of consumers accommodating the various possible circumstances stretches beyond accessibility, but also includes it. The focus is not to just make customer service accessible to compensate for physical, sensory or cognitive limitations, but also to cater to different preferences of doing business. Whether a customer wants to call to have a problem resolved, chat with a representative online, consult a FAQ sheet or visit a retail location; AT&T wants to provide options to meets consumer needs and preferences. However, specifically serving the needs of the disabled has been a long-standing priority of AT&T since the opening of the first call center focused on disabled customers in 1978. Since then the AT&T National Center for Customers with Disabilities (NCCD) has been created to handle requests and questions regarding products and services. This center is based in Baton Rouge, LA and is staffed by customer care personnel who have received training on accessible products and services as well as being trained to address certain needs of disabled and aging customers. While these efforts are admirable steps to better serve their consumers, the realization that providing the best accessibility customer service could not be provided in silos soon set in. AT&T set out to train more of its employees in disability awareness in 2009 in order to spread the commitment to accessibility throughout the company in order cement it in the company culture. This involved developing a 45 minute instructor-led course or self-paced e-learning program which covers: (13)  Disability definitions and demographics21 | P a g e Mobile Device Industry Accessibility Standards
  23. 23.  Section 255 of the Telecommunications Act  Interaction and communication with persons with disabilities  Understanding accessibility requirements regarding mobile phones and wireless services To date more than 160,000 AT&T employees have completed the training and company leaders agree that the program has benefitted the company competitively. Understanding Human Factors AT&T takes a user-centered approach from product inception to production to achieve this. Taking time to understand the usability of the products and services from the consumer’s perspective has given AT&T an advantage over the competition in serving persons with disabilities. The Human Factors Group was created in order to study and better understand the aging and disabled consumer demographics as well as the products and services being offered. The accessibility design process is iterative and aging consumers as well as those with disabilities are invited to take part in the group’s studies. AT&T frequently works with NGOs to obtain recommendations and feedback on product accessibility. The overall goal of the group is to help create product development process that leads to the technology conforming the needs of the consumers during production rather than afterward. AT&T believes that technology should adjust to user instead of the user having to adjust the technology. The team that makes up the Human Factors Group is taken from various business units within the company which bring different insights, product knowledge and experience to the process. The diversity within the team also allows product developments in different areas of the company to be utilized in developing accessibility solutions as well as applying those solutions to various product lines. AT&T has also created other panels and teams in order to obtain valuable feedback and input which include: (13)  The AT&T Advisory Panel on Access & Aging (AAPAA)  The Citizenship & Sustainability Expert Team-Access and Aging  Developing an employee base including persons with disabilities22 | P a g e Mobile Device Industry Accessibility Standards
  24. 24. AT&T Advisory Panel on Access & Aging Seeking input from the disabled and aging community is not a new process for AT&T, but the input has had several iterations such as the Wireless Access Task Force (WATF) and secret shopping with the cooperation of community organizations. The latest iteration of this process is the AAPAA which meets three times a year with key staff from the company’s major business divisions to discuss issues and provide recommendations that make an impact on consumers and employees. The issues that the panel addresses include emerging and usable technologies, current products and services, customer service, strategic marketing and employment issues. The work being done by the AAPAA is partly a continuation of the efforts of the WATF which consisted of aging adults and person with disabilities meeting with AT&T official in order to provide input and feedback on the company’s wireless business practices. The WATF also had the opportunity to meet with handset manufactures which is also a part of the company’s efforts to involve the suppliers in accessibility initiatives. The panel was very productive during its existence contributing to the development of several accessible products and services including a telecommunications device for the deaf or TTY, hearing-aid compatible devices and network-based voice dialing. Citizenship & Sustainability Expert Team-Access and Aging The Citizenship & Sustainability Expert Team on Access and Aging has more of an internal focus than the AAPAA seeking cooperation in the company’s accessibility efforts across units and business divisions of AT&T. The team is made up of employees who spread the message of the necessity of accessibility throughout the organization to bring the issue to the forefront of all aspects of product and service developments, deployments, customer management as well as internal policies and employee recruitment practices. At AT&T accessibility is just a part of broader issues such as sustainability which is also core focus of the team as seen by the title of the panel. The overarching purpose of the panel is to bring together representatives within the company who drive various aspects of sustainability which includes imperative accessibility initiatives that fit into the company’s efforts to be a good corporate citizen. According to the Director of Public Affairs for Corporate Citizenship and Sustainability, Roman Smith, “fostering an inclusive workplace and offering customers with disabilities products and23 | P a g e Mobile Device Industry Accessibility Standards
  25. 25. services that support them to live more sustainable and independent lives” is an integral part of that goal.(13) Some of the key projects of the Expert Team on Access and Aging include advocating and providing support for awareness and competency training for hundreds of thousands of employees across all division of the company. The team also conducts briefings between AT&T divisions regarding product and service innovation providing key information necessary for product adjustments for aging and disabled consumers. Recruitment Practices for Persons with Disabilities Recruiting and providing career opportunities for persons with disabilities is another internal effort by AT&T to provide the best accessible solutions for its customers by giving representatives of the disabled community a solid presence within the company. What better way to show a commitment to meeting the needs of a consumer segment than having a workforce that is representative of those consumers and providing them with a voice to influence change from within the organization. AT&T has developed alliances with several programs to spearhead these recruitment efforts such as Career Opportunities for Students with Disabilities (COSD), The Washington Center, which is collaboration with historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) supporting students with disabilities and a customer care program staffed by U.S. veterans with disabilities. AT&T has also invested in the development of employees with disabilities by co-founding the UCLA Anderson School of Management’s Leadership Institute for Managers with Disabilities. To assist employees in satisfying their work commitments, the Integrated Disability Service Center was created to give disabled employees the tools necessary to be successful at AT&T. The center provides disabled employees with work restrictions, accommodations to assist in job performance, and consideration for temporary work assignments as needed.(13)AT&T serves as a great example within its industry as well as outside as a company that fullycommitted to inclusive practices. From product development, marketing, customer service andemployee recruitment to reshaping the company’s corporate culture; AT&T has madeaccessibility an essential component of its business practices throughout the organization.AT&T has advocated for accessibility internally and also beyond the boundaries of the company24 | P a g e Mobile Device Industry Accessibility Standards
  26. 26. in to order bring the necessity of addressing this issue and those affected by it to the forefront.While AT&T’s accessibility model is not yet seen on a broad scale within the industry, it doesprovide a hopeful example of the impact a company can make when its resources are committedto fulfilling it responsibility to the community that supports it.NTT DOCOMO- Universal Design ApproachNTT DOCOMO is Japan’s leading mobile provider of voice, data and multimedia services.DOCOMO has over 60 million subscribers making it one of the world’s largest mobile communication providers.(18) The company is also providing one of the world’s best examples of serving the disabled population. DOCOMO has embraced this market at all levels of the company providing accessibility in its products, services and retail stores. However, DOCOMO has not only made a commitment to accessibility, the company has made an overall commitment to universal design andproviding access for all. DOCOMO’s universal design culture and company actions have afoundation in that initiative which has been dubbed “DOCOMO’s Hearty Style”.(18)One of the products of the company’s universal design culture is the DOCOMO Hearty Plaza.The plaza, designs and the services offered at the location in downtown Tokyo were alldeveloped in conjunction with universal design experts and persons with disabilities. Theservices offered at Hearty Plaza include instructions on mobile phone usage for customers withvision and hearing disabilities, sign language staff, accessible counters and toilets. The sessionsare designed to give the customers comprehensive demonstrations on various tasks such assending e-mails, making video calls and messaging.(18) DOCOMO has also focused on thedesign of its retail locations and invested considerable effort into creating barrier-free stores.The barrier-free store layouts include such features as priority disabled parking, wheelchair-accessible restrooms, store openings with wide passageways and sloped ramps and a number ofother features that make the locations more accessible. DOCOMO had a total of 217 barrier-freestores as of March 2007.(18)DOCOMO has well defined standards and guidelines concerning the design and development ofits mobile devices. The company’s product development process is founded in a set of concepts25 | P a g e Mobile Device Industry Accessibility Standards
  27. 27. that embody the DOCOMO’s universal design culture. The product development concepts are:(18)  Usability: Ensuring the mobile phone functions are easy to use and understand  Accessibility: Pursuit of accessibility and expansion of consumer base regardless of age and capacity (Raku-Raku Phone)  Interface: Usability limits on mobile phone technology requires bridge to external systems  Adaptation: Able to provide dedicated services to customers through third party devices and servicesDOCOMO also created a set of mobile phone universal design principles in order to optimize theusability of the devices. The company’s five universal design principles are: 1. Easy access of information 2. Product lineup with good design at a reasonable price 3. Features responsible to individual needs 4. Understandable and usable user interface 5. Consistent user interface to keep away miss-operationsThe Raku-Raku phone, which is specifically designed for seniors, is theproduct of DOCOMO’s product development and universal designprinciples. The ease of use of the Raku-Raku phones is due to three of itsessential functions which are the large screen and letters, one-touch dialbuttons and a voice reading function. The versatile voice reading functionis able to be utilized to access mail and operation menus, but also webcontent. This feature has led to 80 percent of the visually impairedpopulation of Japan to using the device. As of 2009 DOCOMO has released 14 versions of theRaku-Raku phone that each has certain level of technological sophistication ranging from simplecalling and texting features to e-wallet applications and digital TV functions. The Raku-Rakumobile phone series has become a successful product line with 15 million units sold as of2009.(18)26 | P a g e Mobile Device Industry Accessibility Standards
  28. 28. NTT DOCOMO is a great example of a company that made a commitment to accessibilitythroughout its organization. Achieving accessibility through universal design is not just a taskfor the DOCOMO; it is part of the company’s culture. This commitment can be seen inDOCOMO’s mobile devices, services offered including special disability discounts, Braille usermaterials, barrier-free stores and the Hearty Plaza. Incorporating accessibility into the companyfrom the development phase to the point-of-sale terminal in its stores has been a driving force inDOCOMO serving its senior and disabled customers. The success that the company has realizedas a result of its efforts should serve as a model for the industry.Dominic Foundation- LUCY Digital InclusionThe Dominic Foundation is a Switzerland based charitable NGO that promotes, supports and finances technological projects that are focused on ICT development to improve the life and increase the independence of persons with disabilities. One such project is the LUCY Digital Inclusion initiative. LUCY isa comprehensive methodology, approach and tool dedicated to improve accessibility.(3) Theproject was named LUCY in reference to the fossil of the same name which is the firstdiscovered hominid to walk erect. This name symbolizes a focus on human oriented design andtechnology. The Dominic Foundation is a different than other for-profit companies that wereanalyzed for this research due to its primary focus being to serve the need of the disablecommunity.The primary objective the LUCY project is to provide internet access and accessible e-content toall people irrespective of age, economic standing or capabilities. Providing consistent andaffordable access to ICT services, to people who would otherwise not have access, through acloud based infrastructure is the LUCY project will accomplish this goal. This project isespecially focused on particularly vulnerable groups such as persons with disabilities and a resultthe LUCY platform is fully accessible, meeting international standards and universal designprinciples. Four areas, critical mass, technology, standards and sustainability, had to beaddressed during the development of this technology in order to better ensure the success of theproject.(3)27 | P a g e Mobile Device Industry Accessibility Standards
  29. 29.  Critical mass: A lack of critical mass is major cause of failure for past digital inclusion projects and the factor had to be vital consideration from the beginning as well as more business focuses approach.  Technology: The LUCY project encompasses state of the art and accessible cloud based technology that reduces cost and reduces deployment time. The reduction of time constraints and cost is major component of providing accessible solutions and this project is exemplary of both. A cloud bases platform allows for infrastructure centralization and optimization which allows one technological center to serve regions in the geographical area. The accessibility features of the platform provide the best assistive technology in one web browser toolbar giving full access to persons with disabilities. These features can also be enabled on smartphones and tablets providing full and free mobile access.  Standards: In order for this technology to reach its optimal level a standard approach and methodology must be developed. Technological standards must also be established in order to ensure the quality of the tools and services. The implementation of the LUCY digital platform must also be standardized in order to create baseline process that can be applied to various regions during localized implementation.  Sustainability: This is the key factor to any accessibility initiative to guarantee its long term survival and effectiveness. Reaching a critical mass with LUCY premium services are essential the sustainability of the platform by generating operating revenue.A standard approach to implementing the LUCY Digital Inclusion platform is necessary whenlocalizing the technology in various areas of the world to create a standard of quality to meetdifferent economic, social, cultural, regulatory and accessibility needs. The Dominic Foundationhas chosen Public Private Partnerships with international organizations as well as localgovernments and organizations to achieve successful localization. The cloud based format alongwith standardization allows for cost reductions to users and the LUCY project. Users avoidhardware, software licensing and service cost by only purchasing what services are needed whiledeployment costs are significantly reduced by the avoidance of infrastructure cost andimplementation time reductions.(3)The vision of LUCY is to provide innovative ICT to those who have had limited or no access totechnology. E-accessibility is defined as the measure of accessibility of a computer system to all28 | P a g e Mobile Device Industry Accessibility Standards
  30. 30. people regardless of disability or severity of impairment.(3) The LUCY project strives toprovide open e-accessibility to people of various age, ability, income, language, location andknowledge. One facet of the LUCY strategy is to use existing infrastructures such asgovernment building, schools and office building as community centers by converting them withlow-cost internet and accessible computer equipment. While LUCY maybe be sponsored by acharitable organization, the program itself is not a charity or philanthropic experiment, but basedon a new business model.Orange- Design for AllOrange is key brand for France-telecom, one of the world’s leading telecommunications companies. The company is one of the main European mobile providers with over 169 million mobile customers in 33 countries.(14) Orange has embraced the responsibility that accompanies serving such an immense number of customers. Accessibility has been made a major priority within the company and the efforts that Orange has made to meet the needs of theirdisabled and aging adult customers are definitive proof of that commitment. The comprehensivedocumentation of its accessibility initiatives through case studies and presentations is also anundertaking that sets Orange apart from other companies. Orange has taken a strong stance foraccessibility advocacy internally and externally with its partners and suppliers in order tointegrate the principles into all aspects of the company including product development,distribution, marketing, customer service, community outreach and industry partnerships.Orange took a fresh and comprehensive approach to meeting the needs of its disabled and agingcustomers by defining what accessibility would be for its company as well as the potentialimpact. According to Orange accessibility is: (15)  “The fact a product can be used by all and any of our customers  A forward-looking process with a simplification of access, great economy, a straight- forward use  A duty and an opportunity for all the employees: be performant and take in account the needs of the elderly people (brand value, innovation…)”29 | P a g e Mobile Device Industry Accessibility Standards
  31. 31. Orange also identified what the potential impact of making a commitment to accessibility couldhave on the company. This list of the areas of the company which could be affected werelabeled the stakes of accessibility which include: (15)  “Introduce a differentiation versus our competitors, by addressing a huge market including the ageing population  Avoid specific cost adaptations and legal adaptations by integrating a total accessibility up-stream (Design for all)  Increase use and loyalty: a better proximity with our customers  The opportunity to sell <<life services>> by our sales force and to give more to society than just a product”With these stakes depending on the company’s response to its customers accessibility needs,Orange initiated its Design for All strategy. This strategy was also in response to marketresearch that concluded 48 percent of the population over 50 in Europe was unsatisfied themobile products and services available. Orange’s Accessibility Department Group is chargedwith driving this strategy and producing results that are effective companywide. The Groupapproaches these challenges in four areas which are adapting products and services, creating atailored distribution network, integrating accessibility into all processes from design to marketingand partnering with institutions, organizations and customers to more accurately identify theirrequirements. The efforts of Group serve to drive the overall accessibility vision and its fivemain priorities: (19)  “Integrate the accessibility in the conception of Orange’s offers  Creation of an adapted range of products for elderly and disabled persons (fix, mobile, internet, television, accessories)  Develop a dedicated distribution channel with training program  Web accessibility; apply all our knowledge on the mobile…  Information, communication and partnerships”The practical applications of the Design for All strategy are founded on usage feedback fromdisabled and aging adult customers. The Group’s R&D accessibility project focuses thatfeedback into developing mechanisms to integrate persons with disabilities and aging adults who30 | P a g e Mobile Device Industry Accessibility Standards
  32. 32. experience difficulties using communications tools into various population groups. The goal isto develop new method of device interaction and interfaces to leverage existing sensory andperception skills. This research will lead to a range of products Orange has designatedAutonomy offerings to cater to each type of disability including: vision, hearing, speech,mobility and cognition. In addition to developing this technology Orange also publishes acatalog to ensure that the disabled customers have access to the products.The catalog is just the first step in Orange’s dedication to making its accessible technologyavailable to its customers. The company has created a specialized distribution network cateringto the special needs of its disabled and aging customers giving full access to Orange products andservices. This multi-faceted distribution network includes: (19)  6,000 salespeople and 750 advisors specially trained in Autonomy offerings and dealing with the disabled  231 Autonomy shops and four Rainbow areas which are openly accessible to disable customers  A dedicated customer service center for persons with disabilities  Enables customers to contact specially trained advisors in French sign language or real time textIn order to develop these types of products and services Orange embraces new ideas toconstantly improve the manner in which the company meets the needs of its disable customers.The Group participates in several accessibility organizations and functions including largecorporation’s accessibility club, international groups such as the European Commission andmajor accessibility exhibitions such as the U-Enabling Mobile Summit organized by G3ict.Orange’s deep involvement with the accessibility community and development of acomprehensive accessibility knowledge base filters down to its employees through regularpresentations to the Group’s members.U.K. Accessibility PracticesOrange’s response to the needs of the disabled and aging adult community as well as othertelecommunications providers in the U.K. were a result of the Disability Discrimination Act of1995 (DDA). The policy placed obligations on providers to make adjustments to goods, services31 | P a g e Mobile Device Industry Accessibility Standards
  33. 33. and facilities offered to persons with disabilities. The DDA also embraced the expansive socialdisability model by defining a disabled person as someone who has a physical or mentalimpairment which is substantial, adverse and long term that inhibits their ability to performnormal daily activities.(16) A good practice guide was developed in order to assist companies incompliance with regulations. The guide focused on eight areas in which providers needed toadhere to in order to be compliant and better serve disabled and aging customers. These areasare: (16) 1. Making reasonable adjustments 2. Examples of reasonable steps providers must take to make services accessible 3. Communicating with customers 4. Staff training 5. Examples of reasonable steps providers must take in relation to policies, procedures and practices 6. Retail Environment 7. Refusal to serve 8. Commitments from the DDA Code of PracticeThe DDA was repealed in 2010 with the Equality Act which consolidated all U.K. anti-discrimination law into one comprehensive policy. The progress that the policy prompted in theimprovement of the products and services for the disabled and aging adults is a lasting impactthat is evident in the practices of companies such as Orange. Analysis of Industry Accessibility PracticesAT&T, NTT DOCOMO, the Dominic Foundation and Orange are all great examples ofcompanies that have met the challenge and responsibility of providing better products to disabledconsumers. Each of these companies has devised its own methodology and practices to addressaccessibility, but can any of these practices be called best practices? While these methods maywork for these companies, are they applicable to other companies across the technologyindustry? The ADA set a strong precedence for accessibility standards of telecommunicationstechnology. The technology which was subject to the policy at that time had already reached amaturity level in its product lifecycle and did not have the immediate potential of rendering the32 | P a g e Mobile Device Industry Accessibility Standards
  34. 34. policy ineffective. Recent innovations in mobile technology have forced policy makers toreassert their efforts to protect the rights and independence of the disabled community.Likewise, manufactures and service providers have been obligated to develop new practices toextend accessibility to new technology. These new practices are evolving just as rapidly as thetechnology that it governs and there is still much work to be done in order to solidify a standardfor best practices. There was not even a broad industry accessibility case study as a basis for thisresearch, only company specific information that was internally initiated.Regardless of a lack of research, there are certain factors to providing accessibility that havebecome intuitive for many companies and should be for the industry as a whole. Any bestpractice regarding accessibility will be developed in conjunction with the disabled community.The slogan of the disabled community is “nothing about us without”. Orange refers to itsapproach to accessibility as empathetic because it involves a wide range of partnerships withinthe disabled community and every effort the company makes to serve disabled and agingcustomers is done their input. How can a company effectively serve a customer whose needsthey are unfamiliar with? It simply cannot. Quite a few companies have realized this andadjusted their approach to accessibility accordingly while so many others have not. Involvingthe disabled community in the development of products and services specifically designed tomeet their needs is essential. The disable and aging adult consumers differ from other segmentsin some ways. This group has specific needs and there are guidelines in place to ensure thatthose needs are met. They know what they want and expect companies whose products theypurchase to accommodate those expectations. When developing products for consumer groupswho have no clear vision of the role product innovation will play in their lives, it is much easierto steer consumers to adapting to technology as opposed to the technology adapting to them.This is not the case with disabled and aging adult consumer group and any efforts to serve theirinterests without their input will likely be rejected with the phrase "nothing about us without us".Another critical factor to addressing accessibility is early adoption and entrenchment.Accessibility cannot be an afterthought. It must be represented in every stage of productdevelopment and have a solid foundation in the company structure. Addressing accessibility inthe early development phase reduces the cost and increases the effectiveness of accessibility overadapting or retrofitting a product to make it accessible after it has already been manufactured.33 | P a g e Mobile Device Industry Accessibility Standards
  35. 35. Once again, the consumer should not have to adapt to the technology, but rather the technologyadapt to the needs of the user. Accessibility must be also be a factor throughout the developmentof a product to marketing, distribution and customer service as well as across business units toensure that every facet of a customers experience with product is made accessible. AT&T andNTT DOCOMO do an exceptional job on embedding accessibility concepts into multiple facetsof the companies. While AT&T has a department that specializes in accessibility, employeescompanywide receive accessibility training because AT&T understands that truly effectiveefforts to serve the disabled community cannot happen in isolation within the company. NTTDOCOMO has a universal design approach for all products and services which make designsthat are usable for widest possible range of consumers a priority from preliminary design in thedevelopment process to distribution in retail locations. The success that AT&T and NTTDOCOMO have had in providing accessible solutions to its disabled customers is a testament tohow much effort and commitment it requires. Accessibility must become a company value thatis present from the first idea for a product to the sale terminal and beyond to claim the level ofsuccess these two companies have experienced with the disabled consumer.The third essential factor to providing accessibility is creating a company culture that isreflective of the consumer base. If a company aims to tailor certain products to meet the needsof a diverse consumer market, one of the fundamental steps is to develop an employee base thatis representative of that market demographic. A company requires internal advocates at variouslevels raising awareness throughout the company regarding accessibility and to create a levelsensitivity to the needs of the market that is the target of company efforts. The phrase “nothingabout us without” once again is applicable because how can a company serve the disabledcommunity without the willingness to allow them to have a voice within the company. Proposal for Accessibility Standards and GuidelinesThroughout the technology industry there are various sets of practices that exist to serve thedisabled and aging adult consumer. These practices exist for some companies in order to satisfya compliance standard and for others to provide the most accessible offering to the customers bytaking extra steps to meet their needs. The creation and adoption of industry-wide standards,which is currently lacking, would lead to best practices amongst companies to offer their best34 | P a g e Mobile Device Industry Accessibility Standards
  36. 36. accessibility solutions instead of minimum compliant efforts. The following recommendedguidelines are based on the previously stated accessibility factors and are intended to establish abasis for standard best practices for providing the most effective accessibility solutions for themobile device industry. 1. Internal or external audit of accessibility initiatives The first step for any company to provide the most effective accessible products and services is to take an inventory of its current practices. Until a company has assessed if its current efforts are effective it will be difficult to expand existing initiatives or develop new ones with any certainty of success. Every step in a company’s accessibility approach must be heavily scrutinized whether it by facilitated by outside consultant or internal audit team. 2. Engaging the disabled and aging adult community The involvement of persons with disabilities and aging adults is a necessity in meeting that group’s needs. The company needs to develop partnerships not only with consumers, but also accessibility organizations and government institutions. Accessibility should be a convergence of consumer input, policy compliance and recent develops in accessible ICT. The involvement of the disabled community should also be internal within the company’s workforce. The target market should be represented in the company to give the company more of a stake developing technology that could possibly assist its employees in their job performance. 3. Embed accessibility in company culture Accessibility must become a company value in order to be effective in serving the customers and genuinely understand their needs. Implementing a staff training program to raise awareness regarding accessibility and educate employees about specific needs of the disabled and aging would be effective. Emphasizing the importance of embracing accessibility at all company levels is critical to understanding how accessibility is connected to all facets of a company. 4. Include accessibility throughout company value chain35 | P a g e Mobile Device Industry Accessibility Standards
  37. 37. Consideration for accessibility throughout the development of a product or service is vital to usability for and the reception from the disabled and aging adult community. Early development stage accessibility focus contributes to cost reduction and effectiveness of a product as opposed to late stage or post-production retrofitting. Building accessibility into a product from inception will significantly increase its usability. However, accessibility cannot stop with the manufacture of a product, it must continue through the value chain. Disabled and aging adult customers will also need access to accessible marketing tools to inform of the product’s existence, distribution methods to purchase and obtain the product and specialized customer service options to have access to assistance when needed. Accessibility must be a priority end to end on the value chain in order to create the best access solutions for products and services as well as providing the best value for the customer. 5. Focus on universal design Accessibility and universal design are separated by a thin parameter which can cause some confusion. Universal design is broader principle that includes accessibility. Some companies that focus on accessibility also incorporate universal design principles into product development in order to expand the access to their products past disabled users to consider the widest possible range of people as potential users. Focusing on universal design has been demonstrated to also result in increased accessibility for the disabled and aging adult consumers. Making accessibility a priority is a necessary and noble effort, but expanding the design principles to focus on the widest range of age groups, cultures, and economic status ensures the development of a product to its fullest usability potential as possible.36 | P a g e Mobile Device Industry Accessibility Standards
  38. 38. ConclusionAccessibility for new mobile technology has become a major demand for the disabled and agingadult population as well as a critical responsibility for the technology industry. Companies dohave some options regarding the manner in which accessibility is approached. Accessibility caneither be seen a compliance obligation or an opportunity. There are examples of companies onboth sides of that choice approaching accessibility with varying degrees. Companies that viewaccessibility only as an obligation and a burden seek to satisfy the requirement of policy thatprohibit excluding the disabled from the use of its products and services. However, there arecompanies that have recognized the benefits of embracing accessibility and have accepted thechallenge with optimism for how the results will impact their business.Four companies were analyzed, three for-profit and one non-profit, with the intent of discoveringsome commonalities among their individual approaches to accessibility. These companies havemade a full commitment to accessibility throughout each level of their organizations. Whileeach has a unique approach to serving the disabled and aging adult consumers, there were threefactors that each had in common which are:  Partnering with the disabled and aging community  Integrating accessibility throughout the company value chain  Embedding accessibility into the company cultureThese factors are at the core of each initiative these companies took to provide accessibleproducts and services to its customers. Embracing these three values have made thesecompanies examples within the industry and allowed them to each develop a set of best practicesto guide future accessibility efforts. There is not currently an industry-wide best practice guideto set all products and services to a standard of quality for accessibility. In the absence of suchguideline AT&T, NTT DOCOMO, Orange and the Dominic Foundation can easily serve asexamples of how to successfully provide accessibility and becoming a more formidable companyfor doing so.37 | P a g e Mobile Device Industry Accessibility Standards
  39. 39. Acronyms  AAPAA-Advisory Panel on Access & Aging  AARP- American Association of Retired Persons  ADA- Americans with Disabilities Act  CVAA- Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act  C.R.P.D.-The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities  DOI-Digital Opportunity Index  DDA- Disability Discrimination Act of 1995  FCC-Federal Communications Commission  HBCU-Historically Black Colleges and Universities  ICT-Information and Communication Technology  NCCD-National Center for Customers with Disabilities  U.D.-Universal Design  VoIP- Voice over Internet Protocol  WATF-Wireless Access Task Force38 | P a g e Mobile Device Industry Accessibility Standards
  40. 40. Bibliography1. Brault M., “Americans with Disabilities: 2010”, Household Economic Studies, July 2012.2. Datamonitor, “United States Mobile Device Industry Market Profile, January 3, 2002.3. The Dominic Foundation, “The Next Generation Technology and e-Services for a Sustainable and Accessible Digital Inclusion”, LUCY Digital Inclusion, 2011.4. Extract of <<Customer with Disabilities Mean Business>>, Extract of <<Nearly 1 in 5 People Have a Disability in the U.S. Census Bureau Reports>>, Extract of <<Digital Opportunity Index>>, Extract of <<G3ict United States Country Profile>>, _United_States_Of_America8. Extract of <<Twenty First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act>>, accessibility-act9. Extract of <<21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010>>, Extract of <<Telecommunications Act of 1996>>, Extract of <<Center for Universal Design: The Principles of Universal Design>>, of-universal-design/12. Extract of <<Center for Universal Design: Ronald L. Mace>>, G3ict Publications and Reports, “Accessibility, Innovation and Sustainability at AT&T”, March 201114. Germain Rene, F., “Orange & Mobile Accessible-Assistive Applications-Services for Senior Citizens and Persons with Disabilities”, M-Enabling Summit, December 2011.15. Monique M., “Ethical Considerations & Innovations for Older People”, Ethics and e- inclusion Workshop, May 12, 2008.16. “Mobile Industry Good Practice Guide for Service Delivery for Disabled and Elderly Customers in the UK”, July 2003.39 | P a g e Mobile Device Industry Accessibility Standards
  41. 41. 17. Narasimhan, N. e-Accessibility Policy Handbook for Persons with Disabilities, Hemkunt Publishers Ltd., 201118. Nagata R., “NTT DOCOMO’s Mobile Phones for Persons with Disabilities”, August 25, 2009.19. Orange Accessibility Group, “Ensuring Accessibility by Elderly and Disabled People”, Providing Digital Access to All20. United Nations, “Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities”, December 13, 2006.21. Datamonitor, “Global Technology Hardware and Equipment: Industry Profile”, June 2011.40 | P a g e Mobile Device Industry Accessibility Standards