Accessibility Toolkit

Linking Internet usage by people with disability to key international policies and programs


The Internet Society strives towards a future where the Internet is for everyone. The 2012 Issues Paper: Internet accessibility: Internet use by persons with disabilities outlines policies, issues, and ways for every part of the Internet community to contribute to a more accessible Internet.

This project extends the original Issues Paper to show the practical impact that the Internet has for people with disability – the positive aspects, the barriers, and how to overcome them through policy and international actions.

The Toolkit includes some of the videos and blogs found below. Take a look at these for first-hand accounts and experiences of accessibility.


Global Accessibility Drivers

International treaties, standards and guidelines promote an inclusive society and act as drivers for improving accessibility.

UN Sustainable Development Goals

The UN urges governments, private sector, civil society—in fact, everyone to take part in building a prosperous society for all.

Goal 4 – Quality education: Guaranteeing equal and accessible education by building inclusive learning environments and providing the needed assistance for persons with disabilities.

Goal 8 – Employment: Promoting inclusive economic growth, full and productive employment allowing persons with disabilities to fully access the job market.

Goal 10 – Social, political and economic inclusion: Emphasizing the social, economic and political inclusion of persons with disabilities.

Goal 11 – Transport: Creating accessible cities and water resources, affordable, accessible and sustainable transport systems, providing universal access to safe, inclusive, accessible and green public spaces.

United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD)

Governments that sign and ratify the UNCRPD are obligated to abide by all the Articles. Relevant here are:

Article 9
Accessibility to ICT

Article 21
Access to information

Over 170 governments have ratified the Convention.

W3C Web Accessibility Initiative

Guidelines declared by some governments as mandatory.

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 – ISO/IEC 40500
Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines
User Agent Accessibility Guidelines

Public procurement

ICT accessibility features included in governments’ procurement guidelines encourage suppliers to make their products and services more accessible.

The following guidelines and standards apply:

USA (Section 508)
European Union and Australia (EN 301 549)

Marrakesh Treaty

This treaty by the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) means that countries that ratify the treaty can make an exemption to their Copyright Act to allow production of books in accessible formats.

Universal design for an inclusive world

Seven principles of universal design lead to better design for everyone.

One Story With A Global Context

People with disability across the world strive to overcome barriers and make their community more accessible.

This personal story links with global drivers to achieve an accessible community. Accessibility champions can make this happen in their own countries.

Vashkar Bhattachearjee has a visual impairment and from his own early difficulties learned the importance of accessible textbooks for students with disability.

Encouraging the Bangladeshi government to adopt and implement the globally recognised multimedia DAISY system using open source software means that students with disability have more opportunities for a quality education (one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals).

If the Bangladeshi government ratifies the Marrakesh Treaty, it will mean an even broader selection of accessible books available for Bangladeshis with disability.

Vashkar’s work with the government means that its web portal uses W3C’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines to make information and services accessible.

The Bangladeshi government has signed and ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and there is more to be done.

The W3C Introduction to Web Accessibility video was produced for the Internet Society Accessibility Toolkit and shows how people with different disabilities use websites and gives tips to make sites more accessible. Take a look at the DAISY Consortium and the Dynamic
Coalition on Access and Disability, also working to ensure equal access to information and knowledge.

Making A Difference

The Internet Society has funded disability projects in countries across the world through Beyond the Net. Training in ICT usage, Internet radio programs and accessible publications online are just some of these projects.

Additional support has been provided through the ISIF Asia Award. People with disability have obtained Fellowships to participate in key international meetings.

ISOC’s Asia Pacific Bureau has stimulated accessibility programs in the region including Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

Chapters play their part in working with their local communities to foster accessibility.

Everyone Can Contribute

Individuals and organisations can increase and enhance accessibility to the Internet for people with disability.

Join the Special Interest Group on Accessibility!

Here are some other ways to start:

  1. Develop technologies that incorporate inclusive design
  2. Make use of W3C’s Web Content Design Guidelines
  3. Encourage governments to abide by the Articles of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
  4. Make sure that accessibility is supported at a senior management level
  5. Incorporate accessibility when developing technical standards and guidelines
  6. Include people with disability in consultation and decision-making
  7. Organize disability awareness training in your organisation
  8. Use guidelines for arranging accessible meetings (online or face-to-face)
  9. Develop communications materials with accessibility in mind ie captioned videos, clear fonts and good contrast in online and printed material
New technologies including the Internet of Things make huge impacts on society.
Let us make them accessible, available and affordable for everyone.


One billion people have a disability with 80% living in developing countries according to the World Health Organisation. That means that connecting the next billion involves bringing people with disability online. The Sustainable Development Goals for education, health, employment and reducing inequality reflect the social model of disability. This means reducing barriers by making societal and attitudinal changes rather than ‘fixing’ individuals with disability.


For questions and comments please contact Gunela Astbrink at: <[email protected]>

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