In view of the number of countries who have signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which requires access to information and communication technologies without discrimination - and confronted with ageing populations, accessibility has become an important political issue at both a national and an international level.
MWF member companies have recognised the importance of accessible mobile communications and have created GARI in order to provide information on already existing accessibility features as well as create a platform on which policy makers, industry and disability organisations can exchange information and work together on improving accessibility of mobile phones, tablets and apps.
GARI is already recognised by regulators in several countries where mobile accessibility related regulations are in force, as means to fulfill reporting requirements of manufacturers.
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Digital Inclusion Unit and the Global Initiative for Inclusive ICTs (G3ict) have published a report in August 2012 that gives a good overview of accessibility initiatives already introduced in countries around the world:
- Making mobile phones and services accessible for persons with disabilities: https://www.itu.int/pub/D-PHCB-SIS_A.02
From a technical point of view, the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), part of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), provides guidelines on several aspects of mobile accessibility:
- WAI's accessibility guidelines address mobile accessibility & work to enhance technologies for mobile accessibility: http://www.w3.org/WAI/mobile/