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Robert Pearson

  Accessible Media

08/04/2014

A World of Access for the Widest Possible Audience

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Accessibility can be measured as the ability of the system to meet the needs of the widest possible audience, writes Robert Pearson.

Image: We are all working towards the same goal, to find solutions for the widest possible audience

Image: We are all working towards the same goal, to find solutions for the widest possible audience.

On May 15, 2014 I travelled to Honolulu, Hawaii to attend and speak at the 30th Annual Pacific Rim International Conference on Disability and Diversity. That same day was also Global Accessibility Awareness Day, which with the time change lasted 30 hours for me this year. A fitting beginning to participating in one of the most diverse conferences I have ever had the opportunity to speak at with participants from throughout the Pacific Rim. Hawaii was showcased as being at the cross-roads of the Pacific, with many regions highlighting the area of focus of their work to strive towards compliancy to the disability regulations of their region.

Having visited many countries around the world and having spoken at conferences on several different continents, I will remember this visit to Hawaii and the "PacRim" conference as unique amongst them. A conference about diversity can be as diverse as its participants and this conference held true to that ideal.

The conference began with the International Forum on the Human Rights of Persons with Disabilities led by representatives from the UNDESA. Building upon the Millennium Development Goals and working towards the Sustainable Development Goals, one of the focuses of their work now is accessible travel and tourism, which was the focus of the discussion within this forum.

The conference continued with numerous concurrent sessions. Many came from a research and academic sense while others focused on currently applicable practices, such as the topic of the Accessible Media Inc. (AMI) presentation on the 'Best Practices for Emerging Forms of Audio Description'. Following the successful completion and adoption of our Post-Production Described Video (Audio Description) Best Practices, we are now coming to the completion of our Live Described Video Best Practices. This work was again developed with our industry and broadcasting partners along with guidance and insight provided from community organization representatives. Once complete, we will be focusing on other forms, including embedded description and the ability of description to be available in a digital sense.

A definition brought forward by one of my Canadian colleagues at this conference was that accessibility can be measured as the ability of the system to meet the needs of the individual. Regardless of where they originate from, as a Polynesian, an Asian, a North American or someone from another region, the system in essence is the same wherever you go. When we gather in forums such as this, in an effort to increase inclusion, we are all working towards the same goal, to find solutions for the widest possible audience.

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Related Resources

Blog: The Intersection of Access and Ability | Read Robert Pearson's Article.

Publication: The ICT Opportunity for a Disability-Inclusive Development Framework | Download Free PDF.