Universal design and creating an accessible digital future

19 December 2017 - A Workshop on Other in Geneva, Switzerland


Proposer's Name: Ms. Kaoru Mizuno
Proposer's Organization: ITU
Co-Proposer's Name: Ms. Andrea Saks
Co-Proposer's Organization: G3iCT
Dynamic Coalition on Accessibility and Disability (DCAD) (http://www.itu.int/en/ITU-T/accessibility/dcad/Pages/default.aspx)

Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTs (G3ict) (http://g3ict.com/ )

Session Format: Other - 90 Min
Format description: Open forum discussion preceded by brief presentations

Country: Switzerland
Stakeholder Group: Intergovernmental Organizations

Country: United States
Stakeholder Group: Civil Society

Speaker: Andrea Saks
Speaker: Gerry Ellis
Speaker: Gunela Astbrink
Speaker: Judith Ann Okite
Speaker: Shadi Abou-Zahra

Content of the Session:
Since the approval of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in 2006, much efforts have been made to achieve an inclusive society for everyone, including persons with disabilities and persons with specific needs. Their voices are starting to be heard, and the progress is reported in participation of persons with disabilities in decision-making processes at national level. However in many countries, this is still an area for improvement.
It is important to understand that disability is not attached to just a few persons but to all of us especially when we age, and that we need to remove barriers in society in order to allow persons with disabilities and those with age related disabilities to enjoy their rights on equal basis with others
“Universal design" is defined by UNCRPD Article 2 and means the design of products, environments, programmes and services to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design. "Universal design" shall not exclude assistive devices for particular groups of persons with disabilities where this is needed.
ICT technologies can play an important role in achieving an inclusive society. If universal design is considered at an early stage of the development of ICT technologies and systems, then expensive refits can be avoided. If this is not done, there is a risk of creating new barriers to accessibility.
Taking into consideration rapid development and prevalence of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies worldwide, it is urgent to promote, among others, key principals, concept and practice of universal design, and take appropriate measures for the implementation globally interoperable.
This workshop will discuss these issues and identify the way forward towards a truly inclusive society through ICT technologies.

Relevance of the Session:
The goal of the workshop is to raise awareness to everyone that it is imperative to achieve an inclusive society. ICT accessibility for persons with disabilities and those with specific needs can be achieved only by including them in the discussions around the Internet Governance and the creation of accessible ICT products and services. Their voices must be heard by governments, regulators, designers and standard writers so that our Digital Future will be accessible for everyone. 

Tag 1: Enhancing Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities
Tag 2: Access and Diversity
Tag 3: 

All proposed speakers' views/perspectives/expertise have been discussed during DCAD conference calls and agreed by the DCAD members. The speakers will briefly make presentation, then they will receive questions from the audience. This is to increase audience participation time and encourage discussion.

All proposed speakers are international experts on accessibility for persons with disabilities, diversity in gender and region/country, including speakers from developing countries. 

Onsite Moderator: Andrea Saks
Online Moderator: Kaoru Mizuno
Rapporteur: Kaoru Mizuno

Online Participation:
There will be designated onsite moderator for remote participation. The workshop will use the ITU Guidelines for supporting remote participation in meetings for all (http://www.itu.int/pub/T-TUT-FSTP-2015-ACC). The moderator will have the full list of remote participants and their affiliations. Should there be persons who are blind participating remotely who cannot access directly the remote participation tool, due to the fact that they are not able to access the 'hand-raising' mechanism with their screen reader, they will be recognized by the Chair during all question & answer sessions so that they are able to make comments directly. 

Discussion facilitation:
The moderator of the workshop will at the beginning take a roll call of all the participants and their affiliations, so that the moderator can call on individuals to comment on subject pertaining to their interest. A list of questions will be prepared in advance to ask both the speakers and the audience so that the discussion will be interactive and inclusive. 

Conducted a Workshop in IGF before?: Yes
Link to Report: http://www.intgovforum.org/multilingual/index.php?q=filedepot_download/4098/356

Additional Speakers: 

Masahito Kawamori, ITU-T Q26/16 Rapporteur, Keio University

Muhammad Shabbir, Islamabad Pakistan Chapter


  1. Introduction to the workshop topic by Andrea Saks, onsite moderator of the workshop
  2. Brief presentations by accessibility experts to raise issues
  • Universal design – principles and practice, by Gunela Astbrink, Women With Disabilities Australia
  • Impairment, Disability and Universal Design, Key concepts for Accessibility, by Gerry Ellis, Feel The BenefIT
  • Standardization efforts at ITU for an accessible global future, by Masahito Kawamori, ITU-T Q26/16 Rapporteur, Keio University
  • Next Generation Web Accessibility Guidelines, by Shadi Abou-Zahra, World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)
  • ICT Accessibility in Pakistan: Challenges and Opportunities, by Muhammad Shabbir, Islamabad Pakistan Chapter

3. Open discussion stimulated by the onsite moderator

4. Wrap-up of the discussion

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