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The Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies (GSMA) has launched a framework of guidelines aimed at helping the mobile industry close the digital accessibility gap, which leaves a number of people with disabilities unable to use mobile technology.
The guidelines, titled Principles for driving the digital inclusion of persons with disabilities, outline ways mobile firms and other digital providers can tackle some of the barriers which prevent people with disabilities from using mobile devices.
The GSMA’s guidelines, which have been developed alongside help from mobile operators and disability and accessibility experts, outline three “core principals” for increasing digital inclusion for disabled people, including ensuring disability inclusion is embraced at every level of an organisation, understanding how to reach and serve people with disabilities and delivering inclusive products and services.
GSMA makes several recommendations including making sure disability inclusion is championed by senior leadership, embedding disability inclusion in internal policies, business strategies and KPIs, and helping people with disabilities to thrive within an organisation.
Actions recommended by the GSMA to ensure organisations aim to reach and serve disabled communities included collecting and analysing data to better understand how disabled customers are using services, and conducting consumer research to find out how to better understand and meet the requirements of customers with disabilities.
The GSMA also suggested developing handsets, content, products and services to be affordable and accessible to all, as well as putting provisions in place such as customer service advisors trained in teaching customers how to use such as devices as potential ways to ensure the delivery of inclusive products and services.
The World Health Organisation found that one billion people have disabilities, only 10% of which have access to assistive technology to help them live their lives. The WHO also found that 80% of people with disabilities are more likely to come from low and middle-income countries, and the GSMA found disabled people from these countries are less likely to own a smartphone or use mobile internet than people without disabilities. The GSMA says mobile phones are the most “cost-effective tools” available to ensure several different assistive technologies to help disabled people are delivered on a single device.
-=-=-=-=-=- Jayne Cravens Author, The LAST Virtual Volunteering Guidebook
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