ETSI Human Factors workshop highlights opportunities to improve accessibility of services

Sophia Antipolis, 20 June 2014

ETSI’s recent workshop on Human factors in Information and Communication Technology that took place in Sophia Antipolis, France on 3-4 June, identified opportunities to improve the accessibility of ICT products and services, through further standardization and cooperation with all parties who are working on improving human factors in ICT.

ETSI has already achieved a major milestone with the publication in February this year of the first European Standard for accessible ICT (EN 301 549), intended to ensure that publicly procured websites, software, and digital devices are more accessible to persons with the widest range of abilities.

With the growing complexity of telecommunication services and connected smart devices, it becomes increasingly important to take the human element into account when designing these services. Technology will embrace an increasingly connected world with the widespread deployment and use of smart and sustainable cities offering community services delivered over ICT, telemedicine, intelligent transport systems, and mobile payments. The user experience and accessibility of these services will be key to their success. The increased power of smart devices offers challenges and opportunities when providing innovative services to users of all abilities. ETSI is already active in these fields and ETSI’s Human Factors Technical Committee will work with other ETSI technical committees and other contributors to go further and develop inclusive standards for all.

Topics addressed during the conference included developing access interfaces to services for users with cognitive impairments and people with low or no literacy (still an issue in Europe), ICT for an ageing population and speech intelligibility in mobile networks. The topic of Human factors in ICT comprises a broad scope of activities and a balance must be found between all stakeholders’ needs to achieve the best implementation of eAccessibility standards.