Pathway to being an accessibility evangelist

Posted on July 26, 2017

Photo of James Thurston

James Thurston

Vice President for Global Strategy and Development, G3ict

Awareness is one of the biggest challenges to creating an organizational commitment to accessible technology and the digital inclusion of persons with disabilities. I have been working in this field for several years now and have observed in both formal surveys and informal discussions that awareness is regularly cited as the top barrier to progress. It doesn’t matter if an organization is a company or a government, whether it is big or small, whether it is in the global north or the global south, a lack of awareness of disability and of how technology can be designed to be used by people with a broad range of abilities prevents us from achieving real digital inclusion for all.

Let’s address this awareness problem head-on by evangelizing the need for accessible technology in all kinds of organizations. And let’s ensure that companies and governments are buying and deploying accessible technology for their employees and their customers.

If you need to convince your organization that a commitment to accessibility is a good idea, G3ict’s new Buy ICT for All web portal might be a good resource for you. It was launched last month to support global efforts to make the world digitally inclusive for everyone, specifically through the procurement of accessible information and communications technology (ICT). The portal includes a specific pathway to support people wanting to be evangelists in their own organizations.

This pathway includes links to a curated set of resources that might be useful if the concept of addressing accessibility is new to your organization. Some of the resources in this pathway are:

  • A guide published by the US National Federation of the Blind (NFB) and written for people at the managerial level of organizations who need to make a well-considered pitch to executives in order to develop and implement a successful accessibility program.
  • A G3ict white paper that provides the rationale and self-evident demand for inclusive public procurement policies and practices in the more than 170 countries that have ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with disabilities (CRPD).
  • Real world evidence of the growing number of countries, regions, and cities that are adopting inclusive public procurement practices to promote the digital inclusion of persons with disabilities and older persons.
  • Guidance for finding accessibility experts who are able to deliver awareness training and can help you create a convincing case to your peers and leaders. You can find help from within your own organization, from external support organizations, or from subject matter experts in the field.

Convincing peers, subordinates, and executives who steer policy and organizational culture that accessibility is an idea worth pursuing is necessary to bring about actual change. At G3ict we are partnering with government, civil society, and industry to convince organizations of all kinds buy ICT for all – including persons with disabilities and older persons. Check out the Evangelist pathway on our new portal and let us know about your strategies and resources.