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Following are 3 basic approaches to the PwD (People with Disabilities) market.

Customised solutions narrowly targeted to specific PwD types
Companies using this approach are usually smaller, have dedicated product development efforts and use resellers that focus on the PwD market. Assistive technology is their core business that might limit opportunities to the larger market but allows them to achieve their organizational goal of innovating for the PwD market.

Mass-market solutions positioned with side benefits to PwD
Companies using this approach are usually larger, leverage existing features, tweak messaging and use mass-market channels to appeal to disabled individuals and their family and support network. They do not create products for PwD; rather, they embed accessibility features into their products.

Line extensions with redesigned products for PwD
This is a hybrid approach where a mass-market product is modified to PwD, says Gartner. While the approaches to accessibility may be varied, the trend toward IT consumption patterns that place users at the centre will continue to drive consumer and enterprise IT requirements for the foreseeable future. With the trend toward more human-centric design, accessibility and overall usability for the largest percentage will become more important.

Source: Gartner

The Economist released a worldwide study based on interviews with experts on the digital divide, and the findings included some brand new conclusions. Although many are still urging public sector subsidies to roll out more broadband facilities, the real barriers to adoption and use may arise elsewhere — the ‘social divide’. Large proportions of people not using the Internet do not yet see its value (because good relevance arguments have not been made to them) or believe that they lack the skills (because good digital literacy programs are not available to them). Among these are people with disabilities; the report quotes Axel Leblois of the Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies (G3ict): “Among governments, there has been great focuson expanding the infrastructure to all corners of the world, but less so on promoting actual usage among disenfranchised populations.”
Source: Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure (GPII)

The Pew Research Center (USA) has released a new report on who’s not online and why. Many non-users cite a constellation of factors that include usability, accessibility, and digital skills. The number of people in this category, 32% of all non-users, is almost twice what it was 3 years ago. Also interesting is that only 17% of non-users think they could get started on their own, while 63% think they would need some help getting started.
The relevance issue — why should I bother? — takes the #1 position, but this is somewhat undercut by the fact that 44% of non-users have asked someone else to look something up or complete a task on the Internet.
Source: Raising the Floor Newsletter – October 2013

About Raising the Floor (RtF): Raising the Floor (RtF) is an international coalition of individuals and organizations working to ensure that the Internet, and everything available through it, is accessible to people experiencing accessibility barriers due to disability, literacy, or age. Of particular concern are people who are underserved or unserved due to the type or combination of disabilities they have, the part of the world they live in, or the limited resources (financial or program) available to them. A central activity of Raising the Floor – International is coordination of an emerging consortium to build a Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure (GPII). For more information see http://raisingthefloor.org.

A new study by the Royal National Institute for the Blind shows that seniors with visual disabilities are missing out on using the Internet for specific reasons. The primary reason (given by 83% of the respondents) was their vision loss, possibly revealing low awareness of assistive technology solutions. Other answers indicated that they are not convinced of the Internet’s value to them, and that the value was not worth the effort to overcome the technological complexity or learning curve. The study offers several recommendations to improve the situation, including simpler technologies and better technological support.
Source: Raising the Floor

European Commission Vice President for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes and the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano have today (20/11/2012) signed a Joint Declaration in London, committing to make the Internet a safer and better place for children.

In the Declaration, Vice President Kroes and Secretary Napolitano:
- agree to implement joint campaigns on the occasion of an annual Safer Internet Day. As a first step, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security intends to participate in the EU’s Safer Internet Day for young people on February 5, 2013.
- commit to contribute to international cooperation in fighting child sexual abuse online in the immediate future. This will build on existing work by the Virtual Global Taskforce and Interpol on law enforcement collaboration to combat child sexual abuse worldwide. International cooperation is essential if we are to be effective in fighting child sexual abuse online.
- acknowledge that parents and guardians need to trust the content and services their children access and commit to continue working with industry and other stakeholders so that parents and children can make informed choices online.

This declaration complements other European Commission initiatives to keep children save and confident in the digital world. These include the EU Strategy for a safer internet and better internet content for children and teenagers presented earlier this year (IP/12/445) and a Commission-brokered coalition of top tech & media companies to make the internet a better place for our kids. (IP/11/1485)

Some history:
On 02 May 2012 the Commission adopted the Communication for a “Strategy for a Better Internet for Children”. The Commission has set out a plan to give children the digital skills and tools they need fully and safely to benefit from the digital world. It also aims to unlock the potential of the market for interactive, creative and educational content online.

With regard to safer internet, the 2011 UNESCO King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa Prize for Use of ICT in Education has rewarded 2 projects:
- the ‘Internet ABC’ Project from Germany, which promotes the secure use of technologies by children and adults through advertisement-free content of more than one million pages;
- the InfollutionZERO project, which addresses the challenges of “infollution”—the harmful effects of unsafe digital “pollutants”—including cyberspace predators, bullies, abusive language, and technology addiction.
Source: UNESCO, EC

AEGIS logoSeville, Spain, 6-9 October 2010

The AEGIS project would like to kindly invite you to the 2nd Pan-European Workshop/User Forum and the 1st International AEGIS Conference entitled “Access for All in the desktop, web and mobile field: an end-user and developer perspective” which will take place in Seville, Spain on 6 and 7-8 October 2010 respectively. For the dedicated developers, a free developer camp (clinic) will take place on the 9th of October 2010. All events are organised by the AEGIS IP initiative (Open Accessibility Everywhere: Groundwork, Infrastructure, Standards – www.aegis-project.eu), partially funded under FP7 (Theme: ICT‐2007.7.1; ICT & Ageing).

With an estimated total population of 501 million (http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu, 1 January 2010), an estimated 45 million people in Europe have a LSHPD (long-standing health problem or disability). A mere 20-30% are believed to use Assistive Technology (AT), but concrete figures do not exist. In fact, most people with disabilities are not even aware of what AT exists. This workshop and conference aims to help spread the word on the existence of AT, and especially on technology that is freely available.

The Workshop/User Forum aims to bring together end-users and experts in the field of assistive technologies, from both the OSS community as well as the proprietary one, that focus on the accessibility of desktop, web and mobile applications. During the workshop the project will present the tools developed so far, and will stimulate discussions between both end-users and application developers vis-à-vis the project’s outcomes so far. The outcomes will be taken into account by the Consortium during the further course of the project. Participation to the workshop will be free of charge.

The conference aims to gather presenters that address both the end-users as well as the developers’ perspective in a number of areas (see topics below). Interactive demos of Assistive Technology ICT, in the Rich Internet Applications, Desktop Applications and Mobile Applications areas as well as developers’ tools that embed accessibility plug-ins will also be demonstrated in a separate exhibition area.

The participation fee will be €150 for researchers, €50 for students and people with disabilities and free for personal assistants.

In addition, an exhibition space will be provided as well which will be open throughout the conference duration. The fee for exhibitors will be € 300.

The registration form for each of the aforementioned events will be available shortly via the project’s website (www.aegis-project.eu).

We kindly invite you and your colleagues to submit papers in the following categories:
- Scientific papers
- Technical papers

Conference topics (non-exhaustive list):
- Accessible desktop applications (AT, developer tools and accessible applications)
- Accessible mobile applications (AT, developer tools and accessible applications)
- Accessible Rich Internet Applications (AT, developer tools and accessible applications)
- Accessibility and Standardisation (e.g. ISO, eInclusion, Policies, Legislation)
- Accessibility and Usability (e.g. Design for All)
- Accessibility research (e.g. Assistive technology usage by end-users and their satisfaction, innovative AT training via accessible e-learning)

Important dates:
- Call for papers: 31st March 2010 (to be published on-line at www.aegis-project.eu)
- Abstracts submission deadline: 30th April 2010
- Notification of abstracts acceptance: 15th May 2010
- Paper submission deadline: 15th June 2010
- Notification of acceptance and outcome of review process: 30th June 2010
- Final camera ready papers: 15th August 2010
- Submission of external exhibitions by 31st August 2010
- Registration by 30th September 2010

Abstracts submission:
Abstracts submitted in the context of one of the above topics should not exceed 500 words. The title, authors and their contact and affiliation details (authors’ email address, telephone and fax number and affiliation name and address) as well as keywords (up to five) should be included.

Under the title of your abstract, please quote the relevant conference topic. We would strongly recommend you to propose more than one conference topics, if applicable, quoting them in priority order.

Abstracts should be submitted to info@aegis-project.eu by 30th April 2010.

Download the complete AEGIS 1st International Conference and 2nd User forum and Workshop Invitation (PDF).