1.1.1 Examples of accessible ICTs

To illustrate how all these elements work together to make an accessible experience for a person with a disability, we will look at two scenarios.

Making a call on a mobile phone

A person with a hearing impairment wishes to make a call on a mobile phone. This person uses a piece of assistive technology (AT) called a hearing aid, which helps amplify sounds from the person’s surroundings. An accessible experience is only possible in this instance if the hearing aid and the mobile phone are compatible with one another. If they are not, it is likely that the person will hear a loud whining noise, known as feedback, when the phone is placed near the hearing aid. Once the hearing aid and the phone are compatible, the person can make and receive a phone call in the same way as a person without a hearing impairment.

Browsing a website

Consider a blind person who wishes to browse a website using a personal computer. In this slightly more complicated scenario, the person uses a sophisticated piece of AT called a "screen reader," which is capable of converting text on the computer screen into synthesized speech. The person can also navigate around a website and input text into an online Web form by using this screen reader in conjunction with a standard keyboard. In this scenario, several things must happen for the person to have an accessible experience.

1. A localized version of the screen reader (i.e. adapted to local requirements in terms of language and culture) must be available.7

2. The person must have access to, and be trained, in using the screen reader.

3. The screen reader and the PC must be “interoperable” or compatible -- i.e., the screen-reading software must be able to control the browser and the operating systems on the computer.

4. The Web content on the website the person is browsing must also be designed to be accessible, for which there are international standards.

Once these conditions are in place, it is feasible for a blind person to access the same content and carry out the same tasks online as any other person.