Have you ever considered how people with disabilities experience the rapid digital transformation with the increasing use of digital devices and platforms after the COVID-19 pandemic? To what extent such marginalized social groups have been affected in terms of their digital inclusion?
The ACCESS4All project acknowledging the lack of proper information and awareness-raising towards disability and the urgent need of integrating these people into the new digital “normality”, after the CODIV-19 crisis, has integrated into its Intellectual Outputs (IOs), topics surrounding accessible digital services and products. Indicatively, in the training module 3 of the IO1 there is an extensive topic with illuminating information about that interesting but at the same time demanding issue.
Undoubtedly, it seems rather challenging for people without disabilities to keep up with the new digital normality, due to limited digital skills and in general the lack of knowledge and expertise. In particular, it seems more complicated and difficult for people with various disabilities to familiarize themselves with that era, given that there is a general lack of accessibility considerations regarding today’s digital transition. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (n.d.) “affordability and accessibility of technology products as well as digital literacy are the main barriers affecting their digital access and inclusion.” (n.d.).
Digital accessibility for people with disabilities is among the prevailing topics that need special attention as it “enables digital inclusion and ensures inclusive communication for all people – regardless of their gender, age, ability or location.” (ITU n.d.). To put it in another way, digital accessibility minimizes at a great degree potential discriminations whereas promotes fundamental values such as equality.
According to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) given that today ICTs constitute a basic tool, which serves needs covering a range of sectors, such as communication, information, transactions, education and entertainment, it is considered essential to be designed in a way that makes them accessible for all the people – with or without disabilities.
The following video tutorial provides a holistic understanding of the role of ICT/digital accessibility to achieve digital inclusion of everyone regardless of age, gender, ability or location, and thus, build a digitally inclusive world for all.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Digital Access and Inclusion of
People with Disabilities. Available online at: https://www.unhcr.org/innovation/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Digital-Access-and-Inclusion-of-People-with-Disabilities.pdf, access 10-11-2021.
International Telecommunication Union. ICT / digital accessibility. Available online at:
https://www.itu.int/en/ITU-D/Digital-Inclusion/Pages/ICT-digital-accessibility/default.aspx, access 10-11-2021.