Achieving the goal of equitable communication for everyone requires:
- Accessible design: Accessibility has to be built in into products and services from the very beginning
- Availability: Accessible products and services must be on hand to users
- Affordability: Access to products and services must be reasonable
Finding solutions to these challenges is not always a simple matter. On the one hand, equipment and software is now available that provides amazing breakthroughs for people with disabilities. On the other hand, there are many barriers to finding the most appropriate equipment, particularly at a price that is affordable. This is a policy and digital divide issue because the majority of disabled persons, even in OECD countries, are unemployed and in low-income brackets.
Ensuring easy and effective communication for those with disabilities is by no means a “fringe issue.” With an estimated 10 percent of the world’s population – or around 650 million people – living with a disability, this represents a significant communication challenge. And with current trends in population growth, medical advances and an increasingly greying population, this number will only grow. Which is why ITU will continue to work hard – around the world – to improve the quality of life and help build an inclusive information society.