The modern telecommunication revolution has sometimes excluded older adults and people with disabilities due to a lack of appropriate accessibility features. Barriers to using mobile phones and services include interfaces that are difficult to understand for persons with cognitive impairments or learning disabilities, lack of alternative communication options for people who are blind or deaf, and handsets that are too difficult to use for people with dexterity or mobility limitations. This report was produced by the International Telecommunication Union in cooperation with The Global Initiative for Inclusive Information and Communication Technologies (G3ict,) whose mission is to promote the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) accessibility dispositions of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This report contains references to the new legislative and regulatory framework set by the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, an important resource for policy makers.
The report covers available accessible features relating to hearing, vision, dexterity, cognition, and literacy. Special services like GPS, relay services, and emergency services are addressed, as well as the accessibility of third-party apps. The report analyses the challenges and opportunities for service providers in implementing available solutions. Examples of service providers, handset manufacturers, and operating system organizations engaged in serving persons with disabilities are discussed. Also covered are a State’s obligations under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), government agencies involved with mobile phone accessibility, and an overview of various national initiatives and policy developments. Finally, the report addresses good practices for policy development and provides a list of resources for further information.