Carleton University International Summit on Accessibility 2014

Carleton University International Summit on Accessibility 2014

Slide 1 – Speaker Presentation

Event: 2014 International Summit on Accessibility
Host: Carleton University, Ottawa
Date: July 12-15, 2014
Time: Sunday, July 13, 2014 – 10:45AM to 12:15PM
Session: Improving Community Access through Innovative Technologies.
Topic: Accelerating Progress through Global Standards, Systems and Tools.
Description: Learn how to capitalize on innovative technologies and platforms to re-think and improve. Are common frameworks and language critical for accelerating progress to a more accessible and inclusive world for persons with disabilities? In this session, speakers will discuss the pros and cons of whether a universal framework, including global standards, systems and tools enable effective planning, information sharing and accountability for outcomes.

Slide 2 – Introduction

Business and Educational Services in Technology

BEST Accessibility Consulting

David Best, Accessibility IT Specialist

Slide 3 – Content

  1. Objective
  2. Purpose
  3. Impact
  4. Question
  5. Trends
  6. Collaboration
  7. Business
  8. Summary
  9. Conclusion
  10. Evidence
  11. Glossary

Slide 4 – Objective

    Learning Objectives:
  1. A greater level of understanding in the business need for flexibility and community engagement. sustainable growth in revenue, return on investment, and profitability is not just about legal compliance.
  2. A greater appreciation for product and service standards. A competitive advantage is built upon talent and market growth.
  3. Motivated to embrace change, and create a business model that enables people. Innovation and collaboration is at the intersection where humans and machines connect.

To achieve the desired level of an inclusive society, it is critical to understand the importance of effective planning, information sharing and organizational accountability, through universal frameworks of global standards, tools, and best practices.

Slide 5 – Purpose

Statement: Improving Community Access through Innovative Technologies.

  1. Measurement – What is improving?
  2. Community engagement – Who is improving?
  3. Technologies – How is it improving?

Goal: To achieve a fully inclusive society through effective accessibility implementation of standards and best practices.

Slide 6 – Impact

Performance factors (Measuring the growth and maturity of progress):

  1. What? Increased community collaboration between:
    A) Private and non-profit sectors,
    B) Open and closed systems.
  2. Who? Improvement of quality of life:
    A) Unleashing hidden talent by enabling people,
    B) Expanding market growth opportunities by enabling consumers.
  3. How? Innovative technologies are closing the digital gap between:
    A) Mainstream and adaptive products,
    B) Attitudes and myths.

Market trend (Moving toward a global digital economy by seamlessly integrating machines and people):

  1. Machines connected together through a network, provide big data analytics and artificial intelligence, for economic growth, and
  2. People connecting together through a vast network, are closing the gap in cultural differences and levels of education.

Slide 7 – Question

Are common frameworks and language critical for accelerating progress to a more accessible and inclusive world for persons with disabilities?

To answer this question we need to compare past events with current activities, and then exstrapulate future probabilities.

The digital transformation, sweeping the world, is connecting people and machines together in such a way that we now live in a virtual global village. However, the ability to use new emerging technologies is currently at the heart of social inclusion, with those excluded being left out of many work, entertainment, communication, healthcare and social benefits.

How is your organization preparing to compete in a rapidly changing world of compliance standards and inclusion best practices? Comparing past events and current activities will provide a greater understanding for future global economic trends and changing societal expectations. A paradigm shift in society, driven by miniaturization, cloud sourcing, and wireless mobile devices, is placing greater power in the hands of consumers. A society of smarter consumers is shaping the corporate enterprise of the future.

Slide 8 – People Trends

    Shift in attitudes and expecgtations.:
  • In the 1960’s we measured people ability by their IQ, intelligence.
  • In the 1970’s the women’s movement promoted EQ, emotional ability to build relationships and value people.
  • In the 1980’s a shrinking world forced us to think SQ, social ability to understand and accept people of differing values and perspectives.
  • In the 1990’s governments legislated standards and policies for PQ, political correctness in speech and behaviour.
  • In the past decade, we shifted toward Cultural Intelligence (CQ), engaging and interacting with people around the world.
  • This decade may be known as the Digital Intelligence era (DQ), the merging of people and machines.

Slide 9 – Technology Trends

    Sshift in technology and tools:
  • In the 1970’s disabled people were beginning to use GPS, OCR, voice recognition, and internet technologies.
  • In the latter half of the 1900’s assistive technologies were stand alone devices.
  • In the latter half of the 1900’s digital communications was primarily character based.
  • In the past decade Graphicl User Interfaces (GUI) were increasingly in use, creating new barriers for disabled people.
  • In the past decade assistive technology support began appearing in mainstream products.
  • We now see a movement toward minaturization, cloud sourcing, and wireless devices.
  • We now see an increasing network of connecting machines.
  • We now see a growing acceptance of global standards and regulations.

Slide 10 – People Collaboration

    shift from proprietary ownership to open source
  • In the latter half of the 1900’s we saw a separation of private research and public research.
  • In the 1900’s assistive technology research was a nich market that lead innovation.
  • In the 1900’s assistive technology was extremely expensive.
  • IN the 1900’s there was a lot of public funding for nonprofit organizations.
  • We now see greater innovation collaboration between private and public sectors.
  • We now see a greater level of acceptance and involvement of the disabled community.
  • We now see a shift in power for innovation from corporate to grassroots.
  • We now see a growing acceptance of diversity and inclusion best practices in the corporate workplace.

Slide 11 – Technology Collaboration

    Shift in innovation from the closed labs to the open crowd collaboration:
  • In the 1900’s products were designed for a specific use without user considerations.
  • In the 1900’s products and accessories were proprietary.
  • Social media is connecting people in real time.
  • Crowd sourcing on cloud clusters are engaging people around the world.
  • Increasingly, assistive technology is being integrated into mainstream products and services.
  • Governments around the world are implementing accessibility legislation.
  • Manufacturers and communication systems are implementing standard protocol interfaces.
  • There is a growing acceptance for universal user experience design.

Slide 12 – Business

    Shift in economic growth and business opportunities:
  • StatsCan says there is a huge skills gap between the demand for job talent and the qualified Canadian worker.
  • StatsCan says the quality of life for disabled Canadians has not improved over the past decayed.
  • Employment reports show a persistently high unemployment rate for disabled Canadians.
  • Inaccessible products and services restrict market growth.
  • There is a increase in organized diversity groups within large corporations.
  • Disabled employees have limited career training opportunities.
  • Disabled people are largely excluded from social networking.
  • Recent HEQCO reports show that only 3 out of 5 employed Canadians have engaged in educational activities.
  • Economic growth within Canada is shifting toward entrepreneur and small business ventures.
  • Business analyst reports show a large increase of innovative business start-ups within Ontario.

Slide 13 – Summary

Measuring Progress
    What Is Improving?
  1. Innovative technologies
  2. People: Standards and regulations have expanded access to products and services
  3. Technology: Cost and complexities have marginalized at risk groups
    What Is Improving?
  1. Inclusive society
  2. People: Lack of career opportunities, AODA enforcement, and educational services have impeded progress
  3. Technology: Virtual learning, social media, and e-commerce have accelerated economic growth but largely excludes disabled people
    Who Is Improving?
  1. Improving Community Access
  2. People: Attitude and systemic barriers have impeded progress
  3. Technology: Digital connectivity has improved knowledge and engagement
    Accelerating Progress
  1. People: Low levels of employment and high levels of workplace mental stress
  2. Technology: Product capabilities have moved beyond our ability to sustain quality
    How Are We Improving?
  1. Enable effective planning, information sharing and accountability for outcomes
  2. People: Employee resource groups and community involvement has increased collaboration
  3. Technology: Workplace accommodations are not effective, and tools are intimidating
    Standardize product architecture and service provision
  1. People: Expectations are clearly defined, and interactive interfaces are controllable
  2. Technology: Products are more interconnectable, accessible, and usable

Slide 14 – Conclusion

Theme: Summit seeks solutions for job issues faced by people with disabilities (“Making it Happen, From Intention to Action”), through showcasing innovation, celebrating best practices and enable collaborative dialog; To achieve action toward accessible and inclusive communities.

Technology has improved community access through digital connectivity, but community access progress has been impeded by people attitudes, systemic barriers, and overall ineffective organizational best practices. We can improve Community Access through Innovative Technologies by shifting focus of progress from digital advancement to healthy living. This has little to do with accessibility, and a great deal more with productivity and human capacity.

    Our Challenge:
  1. To understand the societal trends and environmental conditions that impact the quality of life.
  2. To establish a focus of intention; Moving from perception to reality.
  3. To measure outcomes of action that demonstrates positive progress.
  1. The industrial revelution shifted power to large organizations that controlled information access and media distribution.
  2. The digital revelution is shifting power to the consumer through increased accessible knowledge and immediate realtime connectivity engagement.
  3. The increase demand for social responsibility and cultural diversity is reshaping the enterprise of the future.
  4. The role of non-profit organizations is shrinking, and the industrial style of corporate management is becoming redundant.
  5. The growing levels of lost productivity from absenteeism, presenteeism, and turnover, is having a negative impact on economic growth and societal health.
  6. The acceleration of digital technology is having a negative impact on marginalized groups and business productivity.
  7. The growing global acceptance of product standards and legislative requirements, is creating greater levels of collaboration and innovation.
  1. Disability has become a commotity and has created a whole new ecosystem.
  2. The demand for top talent or expansion of infrastructure.
  3. Strategies of diversity and inclusion that engages employees in the decision making processes.
  4. Build a business model upon partnerships or complete ownership.
  5. Build a workplace upon functional technologies and not futureistic dreams.
  6. Build a business plan upon consumer driven needs, not technology expectations.
  7. Build business practices upon mainstream strategies that will allow flexibility and inclusion.
  1. Develop a Genuine Progress Index (GPI) to measure satisfaction and growth.
  2. Define a baseline of standards and expectations to guide progress.
  3. Create an interactive communications process to engage all employees in decision making.
  4. Evaluate productivity for technology fatigue, career opportunities, and social engagement.
  5. Identify attitude and systemic barriers that impeed market growth.
  6. Build trusting relationships through collaboration and innovation.
  7. Design best practices that clearly define roles of responsibility and accountability.

Slide 15 – Evidence (Education)

Why does the unemployment rate for highly skilled disabled people continue to grow, and why does the increasing need for qualified skilled workers in Canada continue to grow? We know that getting a good job, and sustaining a successful career, correlate with one’s level of educational attainment.

The recent HEQCO (Higher Education Quality Council of Ontario) Access to Education and Training report found that higher levels of continuing education disengagement are observed for visible minorities, aboriginals, respondents identifying a disability, and immigrants. With regard to work environments, higher levels of engagement are observed for workers in unionized jobs, and employees of larger firms. The report revealed that workers in occupations unique to primary industry, processing, manufacturing and utilities were the least engaged in job related education and training. Employment in the private sector was also associated with higher probabilities of disengagement compared to employment in the public sector.

  • Productivity Implications of a Shift to Competency Based Education (CBE) The borders between CBE and traditional programs are dissolving, the report says, and institutions could implement some features of CBE without introducing new academic delivery structures. Although variously defined, CBE is generally structured around self-paced study where progression is determined not by credit hours but by the student.
  • Tom Turpin, president of Randstad Canada, Canada’s largest staffing, recruitment and HR services provider, Posted in the Financial Post, on March 12 2014, Canada needs a mindset shift to fix the skills gap. As boomers transition into retirement the employment skills gap continues to widen because the younger generation is not being trained with the new skills required in a digital world. Canada risks falling behind and losing its competitive edge globally, having a direct long-term effect on Canada’s economy, as this trend continues. A shift in perception is critical: it must begin with families and educators and include governments and organizations. Without it, the country runs the risk of being part of a cycle in which the skills gaps are never filled. Anything less than this will result in a lack of workers needed to drive the economy and maintain the infrastructure that supports every generation.

Slide 16 – Evidence (Business)

Business analyst reports show that a hierarchy of management is expensive in todays digital age. the typical management structure increases the risks of large calamitous decisions, because the most powerful managers are the ones furthest from the front line, and most dangerous when the decision-makers power is uncontestable. A multi-level management structure means more approval layers and slower responses, and that impedes decision-making. The advent of globalization, the Internet, and social media has changed the way we do business, and the result on management-driven hierarchical bureaucracies is devastating. Management should be a process that encourages employee engagement. An organization must be built upon the quality and passion of the people within it.

Business studies of why large companies, like Nortel Telecoms and Block Buster, have failed over the past ten years show two key factors: A Culture of arrogance and Systems Blindness. Management was unwilling to accept advice and adopt change in best practice strategies for the emerging digital age. Management power struggles shutdown effective communication processes between business units, and accountability was unchallenged. More than 70% of private organizations are reported to be in violation of the AODA, and have not been challenged by the Ontario government. Provincial ministries and obligated sectors continue to plan, select, permit and fund inaccessible barriers despite the Charter of Rights, Ontario Human Rights Code, the AODA, and common decency and sound planning.

The total cost from mental health problems and illnesses to the Canadian economy is significant. In 2011 the Mental Health Commission of Canada (MHCC) study reported that the economic cost to Canada is at least $50 billion per year. This represents 2.8% of Canada’s 2011 gross domestic product. It cost business more than $6 billion in lost productivity (from absenteeism, presenteeism, and turnover) in 2011. In any given year, one in five people in Canada experiences a mental health problem or illness and it affects almost everyone in some way. The report shows that the impact of mental health problems and illnesses is especially felt in workplaces and among working aged people. About 21.4% of the working population in Canada currently experience mental health problems and illnesses, which can affect their productivity. Mental health problems and illnesses account for approximately 30% of short – and long-term disability claims and are rated one of the top three drivers of such claims by more than 80% of Canadian employers.

According to a 2013 Morneau Shepell study conducted in conjunction with Queen’s University, workplace stress levels in Canada have doubled since 2009, and financial stress has tripled. Furthermore, mental health issues accounted for one out of the four inquiries to the company’s employee assistance program (EAP) services. Employers need to focus on the relationship between mental health and productivity moving forward. More and more employers are facing employees that are on the job but, because of illness or other non-health-related issues, are not very productive. This issue is called presenteeism. Presenteeism is a productivity and performance related issue that is receiving increased attention and concerns from employers.

According to Statistics Canada, the average days absenting per employee per year is 7.5 days or 3% of salary. Studies of some chronic conditions and health risk factors found that lost productivity from presenteeism was 7.5 times greater than productivity loss from absenteeism. For some stress related health problems such as heart disease, hypertension, migraines, and neck or back pain, the ratio increased 15 times greater.

Slide 17 – Glossary Of Terms

  • Accessibility (Wikipedia)
    Accessibility is the degree to which a product, device, service, or environment is available to as many people as possible. Accessibility can be viewed as the “ability to access” and benefit from some system or entity. The concept often focuses on people with disabilities or special needs (such as the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) and their right of access, enabling the use of assistive technology.
  • Accommodations (Ontario Human Rights Legal Support Centre)
    In human rights terms, accommodation is the word used to describe the duties of an employer, service provider or landlord to give equal access to people who are protected by Ontario’s Human Rights Code. This includes, for example, people with disabilities, seniors and youth, people from racialized communities, families, single parents, recent immigrants, and all individuals identified with a ground of discrimination recognized under Ontario’s Human Rights Code.
  • Assistive Technology (Wikipedia)
    Assistive Technology is an umbrella term that includes assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices for people with disabilities and also includes the process used in selecting, locating, and using them. AT promotes greater independence by enabling people to perform tasks that they were formerly unable to accomplish, or had great difficulty accomplishing, by providing enhancements to, or changing methods of interacting with, the technology needed to accomplish such tasks.
  • Barriers (AODA Accessibility Standards for Customer Service Key Concepts)
    A barrier is anything that keeps someone with a disability from participating fully in society because of his or her disability. A barrier can be visible or invisible. Attitude is the most challenging barrier to overcome because it is hard to change. Architectural or structural barriers may result from design elements of a building such as stairs, doorways, the width of hallways and even room layout. Information and communication barriers can make it difficult for people to receive or convey information. Technology, or lack of it, can prevent people from accessing information. Systemic barriers can result from an organization’s policies, practices and procedures if they restrict people with disabilities, often unintentionally.
  • Convergent Thinking (Wikipedia)
    Convergent thinking is a term coined by Joy Paul Guilford as the opposite of divergent thinking. It generally means the ability to give the “correct” answer to standard questions that do not require significant creativity, for instance in most tasks in school and on standardized multiple-choice tests for intelligence.
  • Creative Thinking (Wikipedia)
    Creativity is a phenomenon whereby something new and valuable is created (such as an idea, a joke, an artistic or literary work, a painting or musical composition, a solution, an invention etc.). The ideas and concepts so conceived can then manifest themselves in any number of ways, but most often, they become something we can see, hear, smell, touch, or taste. The range of scholarly interest in creativity includes a multitude of definitions and approaches involving several disciplines (psychology, cognitive science, education, philosophy, technology, etc.), taking in the relationship between creativity and general intelligence, mental and neurological processes associated with creativity, the potential for fostering creativity through education and training, especially as augmented by technology, and the application of creative resources to improve the effectiveness of learning and teaching processes.
  • Critical Thinking (Wikipedia)
    critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skilfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action.
  • Disability (Human Rights Code)
    Any degree of physical disability, infirmity, malformation or disfigurement that is caused by bodily injury, birth defect or illness and, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, includes diabetes mellitus, epilepsy, a brain injury, any degree of paralysis, amputation, lack of physical coordination, blindness or visual impediment, deafness or hearing impediment, muteness or speech impediment, or physical reliance on a guide dog or other animal or on a wheelchair or other remedial appliance or device.
  • Discrimination (Ontario HUMAN RIGHTS)
    Discrimination means unequal or different treatment or harassment that causes harm. The Ontario Human Rights Code is a provincial anti-discrimination law that applies to workplaces, housing, services, facilities, and to contracts or agreements.
  • Screen Readers (Wikipedia)
    A screen reader is a software application that attempts to identify and interpret what is being displayed on the screen, whether a video monitor is present or not. This interpretation is then re-presented to the user with text-to-speech. Screen readers are a form of assistive technology (AT) potentially useful to people who are blind, visually impaired, illiterate or learning disabled.
  • Universal Design (Wikipedia)
    Universal design (often inclusive design) refers to broad-spectrum ideas meant to produce buildings, products and environments that are inherently accessible to older people, people without disabilities and people with disabilities.
  • Usability (Wikipedia)
    Usability is the ease of use and learnability of a human-made object. The object of use can be a software application, website, book, tool, machine, process, or anything a human interacts with.
  • Web Accessibility (Wikipedia)
    Web accessibility refers to the inclusive practice of making websites usable by people of all abilities and disabilities. When sites are correctly designed, developed and edited, all users can have equal access to information and functionality. For example, when a site is coded with semantically meaningful HTML, with textual equivalents provided for images and with links named meaningfully, this helps blind users using text-to-speech software and/or text-to-Braille hardware. When text and images are large and/or enlargeable, it is easier for users with poor sight to read and understand the content. When links are underlined (or otherwise differentiated) as well as colored, this ensures that color blind users will be able to notice them. When clickable links and areas are large, this helps users who cannot control a mouse with precision. When pages are coded so that users can navigate by means of the keyboard alone, or a single switch access device alone, this helps users who cannot use a mouse or even a standard keyboard. When videos are closed captioned or a sign language version is available, deaf and hard-of-hearing users can understand the video. When flashing effects are avoided or made optional, users prone to seizures caused by these effects are not put at risk. And when content is written in plain language and illustrated with instructional diagrams and animations, users with dyslexia and learning difficulties are better able to understand the content. When sites are correctly built and maintained, all of these users can be accommodated without decreasing the usability of the site for non-disabled users.
  • WCAG2 Glossary Definitions (W3C/WAI Appendix A)
    Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 covers a wide range of recommendations for making Web content more accessible. Following these guidelines will make content accessible to a wider range of people with disabilities, including blindness and low vision, deafness and hearing loss, learning disabilities, cognitive limitations, limited movement, speech disabilities, photosensitivity and combinations of these. Following these guidelines will also often make your Web content more usable to users in general.