New digital technologies are rapidly changing society, including the way people interact, the way they learn and work and the way they drive the economy. There are many reasons why persons with disabilities of all ages experience difficulties in using technology. A major barrier is related to the inaccessibility of products and services, including educational programs, basically because in their design phase universal design principles have not been taken fully into account. In other cases traditional products and services are not accessible because technology is not used to increase their accessibility allowing persons with disabilities to make the best possible use of them. When different user groups in society take differently benefit from the new opportunities offered by technology, we can speak of a digital divide.
The State of the Art report produced by the ENTELIS consortium clearly indicates that to bridge the digital divide barriers have to be removed and people have to be empowered. Change needs to occur solving some of the issues at the root and education is therefore key, whether this is the education of designers of products and services and their providers, as well as the education and training of persons with disabilities in using available solutions and services more effectively.
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