WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy and the National Council on Disability invite the public to participate in an online dialogue on the importance of technology accessibility and usability, particularly in regards to the universal design in the development of workplace technology products.The virtual town hall runs from today, May 15, Global Accessibility Awareness Day, to Friday, May 30. "Advancing Accessibility and Inclusion in Social Media — The Tech Industry Perspective" is the second of three online events on social media accessibility co-hosted by ODEP and NCD.
Universal design involves developing products and virtual environments in a manner that can be used by the widest possible range of people. This month's dialogue will explore how universal design can be incorporated at the onset of social media development in order to create accessible and usable technology; avoid expensive retrofitting; and foster a virtual world that is accessible to all users, including workers, customers and job seekers with disabilities.
Through the use of an innovative crowdsourcing tool, which itself has been optimized for accessibility and usability, participants will share their ideas on how universal design can be applied to social media, as well as the challenges faced in the technology field when pushing the limits of accessibility. Participants will also be asked to consider the input received from the first dialogue in the series, which generated creative user-driven solutions for making social media features and services more accessible.
"Businesses of all shapes and sizes use social media," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy Kathy Martinez. "It's in the best interest of social media providers to ensure that their technology is inclusive and accessible for all users, including those with disabilities. By participating in this online dialogue, members of the technology industry will help us generate new ideas for extending the power of social media to all users."
"The National Council on Disability is delighted to be co-hosting this second online dialogue with ODEP," said NCD member Janni Lehrer-Stein. "Participants will help us understand how universal design can be applied to social media, and how to go about promoting an accessibility mindset in various stages of the product development process."