Singapore is leading the way in creating an inclusive society. Universal design is apparent in the new built environments and housing, and now they are looking at improving the technology side of life. Mothership.sg – a Singaporean digital news and information platform says there of five misconceptions about older people and their use of IT:
- Older people have learned everything that they can over their lifetime.
- Festivals are for young people who like to party and spend money.
- Older people are cliquish and prefer to hang out with their own peers.
- Persons with disabilities aren’t able to fulfil their aspirations.
- The government is already doing so much for older people and people with disability, so I don’t need to step up.
The Mothership website has more information about these misconceptions and includes short videos to explain more.
For many people “Old” is like tomorrow – it will never come. If we were to have inclusiveness, such terms would disappear – they were only useful to marketing professionals when they thought all people over the age of 60 were an homogenous group and needed special products and services.
Microsoft has produced a great set of resources to introduce digital designers the the world of inclusive design. You can download separately the manual and activities in PDF, and the informative videos. The website has additional resources of interest including gaming and film making. There is an opportunity to download the text to the videos so that people using screen readers can access the content. Videos are captioned. Microsoft are living the message with their own web design and content.
Media Access Australia has produced a comprehensive quick reference guide for accessible communications. Although the target audience is service providers that deliver support to NDIS participants, it is useful for all organisations that want to make their information accessible. The contents include information on how people with disability access online information, producing and distributing messages, publishing content online, accessible emails, and engaging with social media. Examples of where this Guide may provide useful information include:
- Setting up a new computer for a person with a disability.
- Formatting internal documents in an accessible way to help employees with a disability.
- Creating an accessible website.
- Ensuring that people with disabilities can access important social media messages from a service provider.
The original guide was funded by Australian Government Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs in 2013.
The Centre for Excellence in Universal Design in Ireland has a comprehensive Toolkit that takes potential purchasers of IT systems through the process of procurement, inlcuding assessing potential suppliers, and overseeing the successful implementation of accessibility features. It also shows how to build the skills required to manage the accessibility of the resulting system and user interfaces once the set-up phase is complete. This means ensuring that documents staff produce for uploading to the website also meet the accessibility criteria.
Download the IT Procurement Toolkit here.
To find out how to improve the accessibility of a website, you must find out the current level of accessibility. A web accessibility audit measures the accessibility level of your website against accessibility standards. It should lead to a list of actions to make your site more accessible to all users. This useful resource from Centre for Excellence in Universal Design will help demystify the auditing process, and help identify the actions you need to take.
The Norwegian Government has taken the principles of universal design and applied them across all policies to create maximum inclusion. This has the effect of making everyone responsible for inclusion at every level – in the built environment, outdoor areas, transport, and ICT. In 2008, the Ministry of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion, launched its first Action Plan 2009-2013, which sets the goal of Norway being universally designed by 2025. In 2010, Norway amended its Planning and Building Act to include universal design. In 2016, The Delta Centre was given responsibility, and funding, to coordinate the actions in the 2015-2019 plan. This plan is more comprehensive and covers ICT and communications to a more detailed level. This is in recognition of how we are becoming more reliant on digital applications.