Telecommunications - Guidelines for Accessibility

Universal Design

Designing telecommunications products and services that can be used by as many people as possible is now accepted as essential. The concept of 'universal design' is to simplify life for everyone, including elderly people and persons with disabilities. This will include the 0.5% of the population who are temporarily disabled through illness or accidents.

Disabled and older users are no longer regarded as just a small niche market group. The increasing number of older people with significant purchasing power has led many companies to reconsider their design criteria so as to include features which make their products more attractive to a larger audience. However, most of these features will benefit all users.

The economic justification for universal design should be self evident, but is all too often ignored. Therefore some countries are considering legislation or regulation to ensure that new equipment and services take into account the needs of disabled people.

This publication gives some examples of features on telecommunication terminals and systems which would be beneficial to people with disabilities, and gives the web address where detailed guidelines are available.

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