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Késako, an accessible technology?

publié le 20 août 2015 à 08:34 par Catherine Claus   [ mis à jour le·26 oct. 2015 à 09:03 par Thomas Gaudy ]
Two recent events inspired me to write this article. First off, this past December 3rd was the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (a fixed date since 1992, created by the United Nations). This year, the theme was "Sustainable Development: The Promise of Technology". Then there was this wonderful news in accessible media: AMI (Accessible Media Inc) will start a French TV station, AMI-télé, specialized for persons with disabilities starting on December 16th!


I think these are two good examples on the growing field of accessible technologies available to persons with disabilities.

For those with autism, certain technologies will permit them to express new ways to communicate their wants and needs. Or else, with the development of mobile technology (tablets, smart phones, etc), those with an intellectual disability have become more able to live autonomously, take part in the work force, or to travel autonomously in the community, etc.

We can even refer to the prototypes of smart vehicles that was presented a few weeks ago that offer new ways for the blind to travel.

Despite these awesome initiatives in technologies that increase the possibilities of persons with disabilities' social participation, there is still a lot we can do to make them more reachable.

The major impediment persons with disabilities face in regards to accessible technology is the cost associated with keeping software up to date with rapid technological growth. Even though these tools can have an important impact on improving their quality of life, many do not have the budget required to access the technology they need.

Something as simple as a building without ramps can prohibit those with limited mobility, the absence of touchscreens or alternative mouse devices limit access to public computers for those with motor disabilities.

Even though the technological evolution has made more and more multimedia information available to the masses, few developers create technology for those with disabilities in mind.

This means that writing becomes a privilege, as the principal mode of communication (websites, emails, social networks, etc) or not realize the standards for web accessibility (using good contrasts such as black on white or white on black, font size, displaying fewer pictures, simplifying menu structures, etc) during the conception of websites. Furthermore, I invite you to comment on how we're doing so we can further increase the accessibility of our website. You can write to us at: or call us at (514)508-5694.


You can visit the very accessible site, AMI (English only), to learn more about the types of accessibilities. Accessible Media Inc. is a non-profit multimedia company, based out of Montréal, that propose broadcasting services such as AMI-tv and AMI-audio (both in English). These medias are available to more than five million people who are blind, visually impaired, deaf, hard of hearing, reduced mobility or incapable of reading printed text. The organization took part of the development of a new French TV station, AMI-télé, accessible December 16th for persons with disabilities. There is a French website www.AMItélé.ca that is still under construction.

What will make this station stand out from others is that this station will have a complete and clear video description, meaning that there will be a narrative description integrated into each of their programs. AMI-télé will offer general programs like TV series, movies, children's shows, and public affairs. In the spring of next year, original programs will be offered. The CRTC (Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission) agreed on requiring the distribution of AMI-télé (for their exceptional contribution in achieving the Canadian broadcasting laws' objectives) as a part of cable and satellite companies' basic offered services to their subscribers. The leaders at AMI-télé are Mr. David Errington, president and head of the Accessibility Media Management and Mr. Philippe Lapointe, vice president of AMI-télé's scheduled programming and production. Additionally, to quote Mr. Lapointe: "For people with low or no visual capacity, television is an essential informational tool and a privileged source of entertainment. In this sense, AMI-Télé becomes an important way for them to be included, for them and their family."

Finally, it takes very little to commit to the route of accessibility: conscienciously including people with handicaps in new technologies and slowly change the way we think to encourage the adaption of the possibilities of universal accessibility. It's the duty of each and every one of us.

Stéphanie Akré.
Translation (french to english): Catherine Claus.

Sources: Informational bulletin from RAAMM
Article by Marie-Josée Roy, published in 2014, November 27th, in the Huffington Post, Québec
Article by Dany Lussier-Desrochers and Martin Caouette, published in 2014, December 3rd on the debates page of the Presse (professors in Psycho-Education at the University of Québec at Trois-Rivières, respectively, the General Director and the Director of Knowledge Transfer from the Sharing Centre of Expertise in Technological Intervention.