We believe that technology is integral to our culture, our society and our workplace and should be usable by everyone, regardless of their abilities or disabilities. While there has been progress in a variety of applications, standards and regulations, accessibility is still not systemic in the development of new and emerging technologies.
Today, knowledge of accessible development is limited to a handful of domain experts. To reach the goal of making technology accessible to everyone, we must broaden expertise across industry. Accessibility must become mainstream.
One of the greatest challenges to making accessible technology more ubiquitous is a lack of awareness and understanding of basic accessibility issues, concepts and best practices.
We propose to begin building this foundation of knowledge in higher education, with enhanced training and collaborations with people with disabilities. Students in fields such as design, computer sciences and human computer interaction must be better prepared to enter the workforce and create future technologies that are truly inclusive. Only then will technology reach its true potential for connecting and enabling everyone in the world.
We believe this goal can be achieved
To tackle these challenges, our objectives are:
To include accessibility and universal design principles in the curricula of computer scientists, designers and researchers in undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education;
To foster expansion of accessibility in higher education through approaches such as internships, challenge grants for research and curriculum development and industry partnerships. These initiatives will focus on practical applications for accessibility including open-source projects and research studies;
To build online learning tools that reflect and teach accessibility best practices. To make these tools widely available to individuals, companies and organizations;
To develop job descriptions that include preference for accessibility knowledge, to increase accessibility focus within recruitment activities and to extend the post-secondary foundation through “on the job training” in product and service development.