The US mobile phone technological company AT&T, has said recently that they are to develop more accessible products and services for disabled people; such as providing phone bills and other documents written in Braille for the blind and large print for the visually impaired; and will aim to provide better technology and service to people who are hard of hearing, deaf or have physical disabilities.
A global conference at the M-enabling summit 2011, has said that, since mobile phones have been introduced, people with disabilities have not been treated with proper consideration, and new US legislation says that the problems disabled users have with mobile phone accessories and services have to be addressed by law, and companies like AT&T are committed to doing that.
There are currently around 10 million people with disabilities in Britain with over 5 million being above the pension age and 6.9 million of working age which counts for 19% of the British working population.
With the high demands of modern life, the need to communicate is ever greater, but gladly according to research by the website ‘Ricability’ there are a wide range of services available in Britain for people with disabilities, and these services like in the US have to be provided by law, by every phone company in the country. In the case of getting a landline installed; the engineers should be trained to help older and disabled people; by giving demonstrations on how to use the product, and making sure the phone is installed in easily accessible places in the house.
People who are blind are entitled to free directory enquiries by dialling 195. But they will have to register for the service and provide a doctor’s signature on the application form. Also for people who are blind or visually impaired, bills and documents should be provided in Braille or large print and audio cassette, as long as the customer requests it. Financial help is available from social services for people with severe disabilities, provided the person qualifies they can receive financial help for special equipment, installation and line rental.
Tariffs are available by phone companies, for people who maybe deaf, hard of hearing or have speech impairments, who need to use text phones to communicate, and there are a range of mobile phones and accessories available for people with physical disabilities.
In Britain it is illegal for phone companies not to provide services for disabled users, and the phone companies are forever developing mobile phone services and technologies to meet the demands of the modern world, and make life a bit easier for everyone.
Websites- AT&T on universal design, Ricability.com