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 Friday, October 05, 2007

ITU is holding a workshop - Making accessibility a reality in emerging technologies - at the second meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Rio de Janeiro, 13 November, 1430-1600.

ITU’s standardization arm - ITU-T - has a long history of providing standards in the field of accessibility. It started in the early 90's with the international text telephone standard, ITU-T Recommendation V.18, which ties together text telephone protocols allowing different textphone types to communicate.

ITU-T’s accessibility experts have helped to incorporate accessibility needs into standards for multimedia, network interoperability, multimedia service descriptions and multimedia conferencing.

The latest work has focused on taking accessibility needs into account in the development of all standards. For this reason an ‘Accessibility Checklist’ has been created for the makers of standards to ensure that they are taking into account the needs of those to whom accessibility to ICTs are restricted, the deaf or hard-of-hearing for example. Experts say that such a list will help to ensure that accessibility needs are taken into account at an early stage, rather than ‘retrofitted’.

An area of current intensive standardization activity is that on the next generation network (NGN). Accessibility features have been included at the first stage of standards work where requirements are defined. However it is important that these needs are taken into account as work progresses.

This workshop, organized by ITU, as part of the Internet Governance Forum brings together experts from around the world to examine how best to take into account accessibility needs in emerging technologies.

Further information here (ITU page) here (IGF page).