Accessibility and AT Standards and Respecting Accessibility and AT in Standardisation

Standardisation is a key tool for interoperability of AT and implementing Accessibility in all domains in society. Legislation more and more forces this e.g. in public eProcurement, websites of public institutions, mobile devices to access public information, ICT development, publising, transportation, education. Standards as a reference are needed in the implementation process both as

  • stand alone AT and Accessibility standards and
  • cross-referencing AT and Accessibility standards in technical and process standards to raise awareness and facilitate implementation.

Besides the actual technical implementation of tools, systems and services, compliance to standards is highly relevant in risk management, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and other aspects of decision making. For instance the EU pursues a standardization policy to comply with its own and its member states' obligations as signatories to the UN's Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). This policy is strategically tied into the EU's innovation, R&D and industrial development strategies.

Several major EU-projects in the field of eAccessiblity and eInclusion have collected information on standards and analysed pertinent standards, information on and access to standards. It was found that looking for standards is very difficult for those not engaged in standardization activities. Given the fact that standards can be strong enablers for PwD in societal and work environments, not knowing about standards can lead to frustrating experiences up to management risks.

In contrast to their key role, standards are still often perceived as a barrier hindering or even preventing persons with disabilities (PwD) and their representatives as well as researchers and developers in the field. Thus, they are reluctant to contribute to the development of pertinent standards.

ICCHP 2010 started to highlight and discuss this issue involving ISO and standardisation organisations. This lead to a white paper demanding for e.g. more user involvement and cross-referencing of AT and Accessibility standards. Since that, ICCHP features sessions and workshops resulting in e.g. the IEC ISO ITU Joint Policy Statemen on Standardization and Accessibility. In cooperation with AAATE and the EU project IN LIFE this condensed in the "Recommendation 2016 concerning standards about eAccessibility and eInclusion".

A Special Interest Group (SIG) in AAATE took up the issue intending to support AT and Accessibility standardisation but in particular also to work on better inclusion and cross-referencing of the existing AT and Accessibility standards in the broad diversity of technical and process standards. ICCHP 2018 gave a special emphasis on "Standards and Law - Twins to be Aware of". AAATE 2019 featured the workshop "Standards in support of assistive technology and accessibility – important but hard to find."

The ICCHP2020 STS intends to push this work forward and calls for contributions, both scientific and practice oriented, focusing on aspects as e.g.:

  • How to engage in standardization and facilitate cooperation
    • How to access standards
    • How to evaluate and give feedback
    • How to support cross-referncing
  • Recent developments in legislation and standardization
  • Accessibility of standard documents and systems - facilitating participation of end-users
  • Good practice. success stories and major gaps in standardization: e.g. regarding the needs of PwD in daily life, AT adoption processes, etc.: Studies, research and experiences
  • Benefits of standards-based certification schemes: e.g. for (skills as well as competences of) experts working in the field of eAccessibility and eInclusion, AT tools and devices, web content accessibility, etc.
  • Management aspects: compliance to legal and standards' requirements, facilitate risk management, (standards-compliance as) marketing argument, cost savings (incl. lower insurance fees), promotion (incl. avoidance of bad news in the media), CSR (corporate social responsibility)
  • AT, eAccessibility and eInclusion related classification and terminology
  • Cooperation and coordination between different standards developing organizations (SDO)
  • Communication issues in various fields of AT and Accessibility application: health sector, public transport, AAL, household devices, interoperability of user interface design, communication …
  • Results of major projects in the field
  • Standards-based certification schemes: benefits for users, such as 
    • persons with disabilities (PwD) and their representatives (e.g. to be able to engage in standards development)
    • pertinent industry to find information on standards and standardization activities (e.g. for the sake of 'investment security')
    • researchers and developers (e.g. for the sake of scientific discussion and to avoid duplication of efforts)
    • care-giving organizations/institutions (e.g. to avoid conflict over contracts with tool or service providers)
    • policy makers and legislators (e.g. to keep legal regulations and standards coherent)
  • Standards and certification helping PwD: e.g. for entering professional life and making a career
  • Ideation on concepets, ideas, visions for making standardisation an efficient and powerful tool supporting eInclusion

This session is organised in cooperation with

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Contributions to a STS have to be submitted using the standard submission procedures of ICCHP.
When submitting your contribution please make sure to select the right STS under "Special Thematic Session". Contributions to a STS are evaluated by the Programme Committee of ICCHP and by the chair(s) of the STS. Please get in contact with the STS chairs for discussing your involvement and pre-evaluation of your contribution. Submission Deadline for Contributions to STSs: April 1, 2020