Who benefits from ICT accessibility?

This section illustrates that there are many people who benefit from increased accessibility of ICT equipment and services.  The number of beneficiaries is set to steadily increase in future.

It is estimated that one of six, or 17%, of people of working age (16-64) in Member States of the European Union have a disability. Many older people also have age related impairments that effect how they use technology. Peoples’ abilities change as they age. While very many older people would not consider themselves as disabled, they too benefit from being able to use technology that has been designed with accessibility in mind.

The accessibility features specified in EN 301 549 are readily available or can be designed into most types of ICTs today resulting in a product or service that is accessible by persons with disabilities, and in many instances, more usable to all other users also.

Whatever the current percentage of the population that benefits from ICT being accessible, this number is set to increase overtime. The proportion of older people in Europe is set to rise steadily over the coming decades. The ratio of people aged 15-64 in the population per one person aged 65 or older is set to more than double among the EU 27 countries, from 22% in 2005 to 48% in 2050 [1]

Therefore, it is important for procurers to note that the beneficiaries of accessible features in ICTs are not limited to just persons with disabilities and are set to increase significantly in these times.

[1] Source: United Nations World Population Prospects. Referenced in “Regions 2020, Demographic Challenges for European Regions”.  Available at http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/sources/docoffic/working/regions2020/pdf/regions2020_demographic.pdf