The Business Value of Accessibility: Challenges & Opportunities
The Business Value of
Accessibility: Challenges &
The European Accessibility Forum
Senior Operations Officer
The World Bank.
The architectural design field learned a long time
ago that the benefits of universal design extend
beyond people with disabilities.
In today’s knowledge economy accessibility of
ICT is paired with the physical accessibility.
Access to the physical environment and to
Information Technology is instrumental for the
enjoyment of many human rights and good for
Business Value of ICT Accessibility
Social Factors - In many countries the technology is being used for
government information and services, education and training,
commerce, news, workplace interaction, civic participation, health
care, recreation, entertainment, and more.
Corporate Responsibility – accessibility affects organization's
employees, stockholders and board members, suppliers and
vendors, partners and collaborators, customers, and others
Accessibility provides improved access, and thus can increase
social inclusion, for other groups of people that are often a focus of
corporate social responsibility.
Improves the Banks ability to do business with Developing
Countries, Governments, etc. if the information is accessible.
At the Bank
Web Governance Strategy in process
– Web Accessibility is a core component of the strategy
– Adoption of W3C guidelines –
This strategy ensures that people with disabilities, people
who are aging, people with low bandwidth, low literacy will
have access to the information on the Banks websites.
The Bank aims to insert accessibility into the fabric of the
way it does business.
– Within the internal policies and procedures to support staff,
within the operations programs, within employment diversity.
– Every unit within the Bank has a responsibility to address
accessibility at some level.
– Whether it is our IT department, our facilities, our employment
practices everyone owns accessibility.
Bank Commitment to
Around 6% of investment projects mention
Adoption of a web accessibility policy
Public Information Center IT Accessibility
ISG’s Accessibility Program
Disability Accommodation Fund
What are our main
Creating and maintaining an IT infrastructure
that is accessible
Extend the effects of development programs to a
larger number of beneficiaries including persons
with disabilities, seniors and other vulnerable
People, with or without disabilities, embrace and
use an environment that is universally designed
to make life easier.
The International Benchmark
Convention on the Rights of Persons with
Art. 4 General Obligations
Art. 9 Accessibility
Art. 21 Freedom of expression, opinion
and access to information
Art. 32 International Cooperation
What is the Role of Accessible ICT
in inclusive development?
Accessible ICT for people with disabilities can
play a crucial role for the inclusion of disability in
the development agenda;
Proper communication is needed to raise
awareness on disability, which is too often
perceived as merely a health issue, approached
with pity, stigma and basically unknown to the
public at large;
ICT that is democratized will contribute to
narrowing the digital divide and can be used to
fight stigma and prejudice with the goal of true
This can be part of including disability concerns
within the realm of civil society.
The power of ICT to make connections can
mitigate against the social isolation of
persons with disabilities in most societies.
ICTs can provide access to information,
services, and economic opportunities
Mastery of technology may improve self-
confidence and enhance social standing
The demonstrated value of ICT often
provides yet another incentive for literacy
Because of their connective power, ICTs may be
regarded with special suspicion in societies where
people with disabilities are traditional excluded and
without a voice.
Most ICT interfaces require literacy in a major
language as the point of entry
The cost of ICT
In a knowledge based economy the economic and
social significance to information is increasing
People with disabilities without access to ICTs may
find themselves on the wrong side of a widening
‘opportunity gap’- the other side of the digital divide.
Is makes business sense.
ICT and disability and the link to e-
– Access (telecommunications, & multi-channel service
– Demand (digital literacy, capacity building,
affordability, relevant content in local language) and
– Participation (multi-stakeholder consultations and
Governments pursuing this proactively
– Bridging the digital divide (haves and have nots)
– E-government for all
ICT can increase access to opportunities
and participation, and in so doing can open
the world up to 650 million people.
Furthermore the entire community can
benefit from accessible ICT as people can
be permanently or temporarily disabled.
Everyone owns accessibility.