NDIS service providers urged to consider ICT accessibility

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Monday, 4 August 2014 14:16pm

Service providers to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) have been advised to consider the accessibility of their information communications technology (ICT) to ensure that they can fully support people with disabilities.

Speaking ahead of his presentation at the Disability Employment Conference, held 6-7 August on the Gold Coast, Media Access Australia’s web accessibility expert and W3C member, Dr Scott Hollier, said service providers to the NDIS need to consider how people with disabilities could better access their websites, smartphone apps, documents and other information.

“As the NDIS ramps up and people with disabilities approach service providers for individualised support in finding employment, will these providers be in a position to have all their information accessible?” Dr Hollier asked.

“For organisations looking to employ people with disabilities, will they be aware that their computers are probably already capable of supporting people with disabilities? They may well not know how to set those up, or not know that it is far less expensive to make those computers accessible for people with disabilities than it once was.”

Dr Hollier said a useful way for service providers to evaluate their accessibility was to look across the different areas of their organisation— such as ICT, communications and marketing, human resources and management—and identify specific roles that should be responsible for making technology accessible.

“The logical place to start is your IT department,” he said. “Anyone looking after your ICT needs to look at standards like the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 to make sure web information—intranets and external websites—are accessible,” he said. “These staff can also look at the different operating systems, understanding their accessibility features and how to enable these features for other staff and users.

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