Accessibility priorities for policymakers
Microsoft believes a market-driven ecosystem is the best environment for encouraging greater accessibility for all users. Policymakers can help in this effort by supporting existing accessibility standards in procurement and inclusion policies. Specifically, we believe policymakers should consider addressing the following priorities:
Procure accessible technologies
When public agencies purchase and use accessible technologies, access to public information and workforce participation by people with disabilities increases. By incorporating accessibility criteria such as ETSI EN 301 549 into procurement policies and requesting detailed compliance statements from technology and solutions providers, governments can create economic incentives for businesses to invest in more innovative accessible products.
Promote globally harmonized standards
The speed of innovation in the technology sector can outpace legislation meant to encourage accessibility and promote cloud services. Global standards such ETSI EN 301 549 and ISO/IEC 40500 (W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0) are preferable to laws that require some features or services but exclude others.
Make e-government services accessible
By adopting policies that mandate accessibility for government information and e-government services, policymakers can ensure that people of all abilities stay informed, participate fully in civic life, and take advantage of public-sector benefits, opportunities, and employment.
When governments try to solve complex challenges with older technology, citizens with disabilities are often left behind. Governments should adopt policies that incent their agencies to partner proactively with industry to create new solutions through cloud-based technologies.
Education authorities should promote awareness and provide skills training to help teachers understand how to use new technologies to improve learning in the classroom.