IAAP’s focus is to bring accessibility professionals from around the world together to help define, promote and improve the profession. As the new Managing Director of IAAP, my plans for 2019 are to build on the foundation of our core organizational objectives by expanding our certification program and approved certification preparation providers network. Another priority for 2019 is to support our international chapters in their commitment to promoting IAAP’s mission in their specific region.
We are also focusing on a big challenge in terms of digital accessibility, which is the procurement of accessibility ICTs. As an organization it is vital to have policies and protocol in place to address procurement. IAAP is working hard on the development of a Procurement Specialist certification to be launched in 2019.
The concept behind the higher education accessibility webinar series is to offer colleges knowledge and resources about implementing their own accessibility methodology and strategic framework. Too often, organizations are reactive to an accessibility complaint. The nine-month series is meant to package information and technical assistance to help guide campuses to be proactive and learn from each other on setting up an ICT accessibility framework that is specific to the campus's needs. Campuses who have chosen to implement an internal network accommodation and ICT accessibility support have a more likely chance to
- decrease accommodation and accessibility costs by reducing duplication
- apply centralized solutions for accessibility compliance testing and tracking
- manage their vendor accessibility lifecycle
- transfer accessibility knowledge to faculty and staff
- develop an internal network of certified accessibility professionals
- leverage campus-to-campus resource sharing
These are all incorporating factors that campuses should be considering in the development of their ICT accessibility strategic framework, thus, supporting their information and communication technology development, purchases, and deployment. We are also planning to localize the series, currently we are discussing with the IAAP Nordic about how the content could be tailored to fit the Nordic countries.
The next big trend around the technology field that has major implications for individuals with disabilities is not a piece of AT software or hardware, but the movement of Artificial Intelligence (AI). International corporations are pouring resources into the development and research around AI, particularly for web accessibility. In a recent article published by MIT titled “AI for Web Accessibility: Is Conformance Evaluation a Way Forward” the W3C authors highlight several examples that AI will assist individuals with disabilities including:
- AI-Voice Recognition: Google announced automatic captioning of YouTube videos through voice recognition, which could support individuals who require captions.
- AI-Based Text Processing, which offers automatic summarization functionality based on information extraction and abstraction could support individuals with cognitive disabilities.
- AI-Automatic Alt-Text: Facebook, automatic alt-text features which could support people with visual impairments.
AI has immense potential for people with disabilities, but what is still a need, is more research!
The IAAP Certification webpage