5th European eAccessibility Forum
Benefits and costs of e-accessibility

28/03/2011, 9:00 - 18:00
Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie - 30 Avenue Corentin Cariou 75019 - Paris, France

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Embedding Accessibility from Day 1: A pragmatic approach to designing accessible goods and services.

Kiran Kaja (United-Kingdom)
kkaja (at) adobe.com

Speaker's information

photo Kiran Kaja

Kiran Kaja works for the Accessibility team at Adobe and is based in London. He is involved in European Accessibility standards and policy initiatives on behalf of Adobe. Kiran has a good insight into the end-user perspective being blind himself and having worked in the Accessibility field in a number of roles.



Warning : The short papers of this conference have been prepared by BrailleNet who accept any responsibility for them. But presentation materials provided for download (full-papers or slides) have been provided by the authors themselves.

The biggest challenge for an end-user of accessibility technology is the fact that accessibility, or support for accessible technology, is always one of the last things considered when designing a product or service. Yet, retrofitting a product to make it accessible is always going to be extra-costly. Embedding accessibility from day one is thus a major objective.

But such an objective implies beforehand a number of perspective changes and to pragmatically take into account the present situation.

First, there is a major awareness issue when it comes to the requirements of the accessibility topic. Not many people are actually aware of what they need to do, or why they need to make their products or services usable by persons with disabilities and other disadvantaged groups.

There are also a number of misconceptions, such as: the return on investment is not high when making products accessible. For example: Persons requiring mobile speak and Screen Reader users on mobile phones are approximately 1.2 %. For major companies, anything that's not in double-digits is not considered to be a major market share. Unless there's some Big Bang like a costly legislative exercises or a costly public relation exercise, firms and institutions won’t bother.

What can we do to improve the situation? Anticipate and identify all user groups. It means to look at all the possible user groups, not only the disabled persons, and to identify common using requirements. For example: Nokia phones, series 40 and 60, have a talking caller ID feature. It could be consider as an accessibility requirement. But sighted people are also relying on the talking caller ID feature without even realizing that it's actually a great boon for people who cannot see the screen. The same thing can be say of the Blackberry phone which has any number of apps which can read parts of incoming messages so that you don't have to look at the screen when you're driving.

Those technology developments underline the fact that e-accessibility must be consider as a mainstream issue, not specifically address to disabled persons. Such a perspective is inherent to embedding accessibility from day one. Adobe products offer a number of ways to make its documents accessible from the very beginning.



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