On Tuesday 3rd December 2019, the Internet Society Accessibility Special Interest Group (A11ySIG) joins the rest of the world in observing International Day of Persons With Disabilities (IDPD).
To recall, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities has been annually observed on 3 December worldwide since 1992. The theme for 2019 IDPD is: ‘Promoting the participation of persons with disabilities and their leadership: taking action on the 2030 Development Agenda’. The theme focuses on the empowerment of persons with disabilities for inclusive, equitable and sustainable development as envisaged in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which pledges to ‘leave no one behind’ and recognizes disability as a cross-cutting issues, to be considered in the implementation of its 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
The ISOC Accessibility SIG aims to make the Internet and its attendant technologies accessible to the largest audience possible regardless of disabilities. On Tuesday, while we are observing IDPD, I call upon the developers to remember that not everyone uses your product in the same way. Moreover, the digital divide is not just about having the access to digital technology, it could also be about having the access to technology and not being able to use it. Among other factors in the domain of Internet and digital accessibility, a lot depends upon the technical community and developers. So, if you are a developer, and developing a device or a website, you need to ensure that your digital product doesn’t prevent nearly one billion of world’s population to access or use it.
Thus, if you are not making your website accessible, you are contributing to the digital divide. If you want to make your website or mobile app accessible, follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. In ensuring that the Internet is for Everyone, the developer is either part of the solution or the problem. There is no middle way.