Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs)

With the rapid incorporation of technological breakthroughs within the daily life of European citizens, the Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have become a gateway to employment, education, leisure, culture, public/private services and goods, as well as a basic tool for our social relationships.

The so-called Information Society represents at once significant opportunities, but also potential new barriers for the social inclusion of people with disabilities. Accessible ICTs can enable and empower persons with disabilities with unprecedented levels of personal autonomy to actively participate into society with equal basis to their peers.

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) acknowledged this within its article 9 binding the state parties to ensure the access “to information and communications, including information and communications technologies and systems”

Without forgetting the importance of assistive technologies especially relevant for persons with disabilities, EDF strongly advocates for the inclusion of accessibility requirements among ICT companies, but especially within the European regulation concerning technologies.

For many people with disabilities, inaccessible ICT products and services are a major barrier to inclusion, preventing them from enjoying the facilities at the equal footing with non-disabled people. A few examples:

  • Websites, which are increasingly interactive, are most of the times inaccessible for people with disabilities, as when being designed and maintained they do not follow a basic set of guidelines to ensure that they are accessible and the assistive technologies (such as screen readers) can work on them. Read more about web accessibility.
  • People with disabilities are often prevented from enjoying audiovisual content due to lack of access services, such as subtitling, sign language interpretation, audio-description and spoken subtitles. Read more about media accessibility.
  • Telecommunications includes a wide range of products and services to which persons with disabilities don’t always have equal access and choice, including the most basic and vital such as the emergency services. Read more about accessible telecommunications.
This is a video in sign language explaining what information society is