Monday, January 16, 2017

Discussing "accessibility & inclusion in business on the web & beyond”

… this is the mission of #AXSchat, a live Twitter chat uniting key influencers in the online accessibility discussion every Tuesday, 8pm UK time, on Twitter. The MWF/GARI was honoured to join the chat as official invitee, to explain about the GARI project, and to tackle the questions raised by the #AXSchat community: 


Q1 @neilmilliken predicts mobile will remain the most important tech for #inclusion in 2017 is this a fair assumption, if so why? #AXSChat

A1: More people than ever have a mobile phone which count among the most accessible product groups today. Furthermore, mobile phones become the hub to access services, other devices etc. This trend will even increase with the Internet of things. (Just heard somebody recently calling the smartphone the remote control to our life). All the more important therefore that mobile phones are accessible and that consumers are educated about the different accessibility features available in devices today. 


Q2 If you buy a car the features don’t change over time. This isn’t true with phones how do you keep on top of #a11y in updates? #AXSchat

A2: In the GARI database you find information on the availability of hardware and software accessibility features available in mobile phones, tablets, apps, Smart TVs and Wearables. Furthermore, we try to provide information on latest updates to the operating systems and peer review videos on GARI’s resource page. 


Q3 How can we make older & novices users aware of how to use the accessibility features in the phones that they already own #AXSchat

A3: Consumer education is crucial: we provide the information about the GARI database and accessible mobile phones for older users to senior organisations. But it is important to understand that seniors are not looking for accessible devices - they just want to have a device that helps them hear and see better (see blog post Senior adults aren’t seeking accessibility - they just need a device that helps them see and hear better, http://blog.mobileaccessibility.info/2016/02/senior-adults-dont-need-accessibility.html).


Q4 How important are accessibility user reviews during the process of buying a new product? And where can people find them? #AXSChat

A4: GARI provides objective information on accessibility features available in mobile phones, tablets, Smart TVs and Wearables. In a second step, to help consumers choose among a number of accessible devices peer review is crucial and often provided by Organisations of Persons with Disabilities who review products for their members. 


Q5 Should new electronics products come with #Accessibility Information for commonly occurring disabilities on the packaging #AXSchat

A5: In most cases, consumers get the packaging only after having purchased the product. It is much more practical to have one central source of information where consumers know that they can find information on the accessibility features of devices. And that is exactly the mission of the GARI database: inform and empower consumers so choose a device that best suits their individual needs. 


Q6 As all the appliances that we use today become connected, what’s being done to guarantee interoperability & #accessibility #AXSchat #IOT

A6: That is a big challenge but our member companies try to ensure Interoperability via their active contribution to the development of international standards. 


The #AXSchat is a wonderful opportunity every week to tap into the knowledge of the accessibility experts community and we are looking forward to following and learning. 

Have a look at the video interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uJVd-VBN5zM 

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