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Smartphone, tablet, laptop and headphonesLast week, ACCAN's Disability Policy Advisor, Wayne Hawkins, presented at the NDIS New World Conference 2015 in Brisbane. The theme for the Conference was: Disability in the 21st century.

The event featured speakers from a range of organisations including Apple, National Disability Services, Ernst and Young and the National Disability Insurance Agency.

Wayne sat on the panel of the Universal Accessibility session, facilitated by Sean Fitzgerald, Director C3 Solutions. Other panellists included James Thurston from G3ictr, Daniel Hubbell from Microsoft and Dr Scott Hollier from Media Access Australia.

Wayne's presentation (available below) focused on why accessible ICT is important.

This is shown through the massive shift in the 21st century which now sees every part of our lives connected to technology. New technologies have the potential to not only disrupt disability, but to change what it means to be a person with disability in Australia. However, this potential only exists if the technology is accessible and usable by people with different abilities.

It's imperative that people with disability do not get left behind as technology becomes more inherent in our lives.

In Australia we hear about the 'digital divide' – referring to those consumers who do not have access to the internet or technology for any number of reasons. For example, affordability issues or lack of access to internet services due to location.

We are not so familiar with the 'disability digital divide' which is not a question of having access to the internet or technology, but a question of having the right technology in order to connect to the network. To overcome the disability digital divide technology must be inherently accessible to consumers living with a disability.

For ICT to be accessible, it must follow the seven principles of Universal Design:

  1. Equitable use
  2. Flexibility in use
  3. Simple and intuitive use
  4. Perceptible information
  5. Tolerance for error
  6. Low physical effort
  7. Size and space for approach and use

Implementing these seven principles allows technology to be designed for all. This is important as the Internet of Things takes-off and sees more everyday devices being connected to the internet than ever before.

For more information on accessible ICT, download Wayne's presentation below.

Download presentation: docxPresentation NDIS New World conference October 27 2015.docx24.15 KB

Download presentation: pdfPresentation NDIS New World conference October 27 2015.pdf247.11 KB

NDIS New World Conference 2015