Capacity building in focus in Germany and Belgium
Sometimes it feels like accessibility issues are discussed in a separate universe, far away from the everyday lives of other human beings. But right now, our perspectives are in demand in many arenas.
With the new legislation there are increased demands and there are many who need to learn more:
- Website owners who will teach their editors to do the right thing
- Purchasers to make demands on suppliers
- Suppliers to understand how the requirements should be interpreted
At the turn of the month September-October, Funka's experts shared our expertise at two conferences covering different areas of accessibility:
M-Enabling Forum Europe
M-Enabling is a well-known conference on digital accessibility, mobile interfaces and assistive technology that is being held annually in Washington DC. In September, the first M-Enabling in Europe was carried out, in collaboration with RehaCare, a very large assistive technology conference in Düsseldorf with a focus on rehabilitation. The theme of the conference was Independent Living.
Funka's Susanna Laurin, who is in the program committee for M-Enabling in both the United States and Europe, participated in a panel discussion on how skills and capacity can be increased in the accessibility industry. An obvious starting point is the certification of accessibility experts provided by the IAAP, but other types of initiatives, such as certification of products or technical solutions that in future might be able to solve parts of today's problems automatically, were also discussed. It was exciting to see how well M-Enabling's concept works in Europe and the day was very intense with several interesting panels and talented speakers. The next opportunity to visit M-Enabling Forum Europe will be 19th September 2019.
Destinations for all World Summit
A couple of days later, the two-day conference Destinations for all World Summit were held for the second time, in Brussels. It is a conference on accessible tourism with a large international breadth and focus on built environment and transport. Also here, IAAP and certification were in focus for Funka, not least because Disney is one of the founders of the organization IAAP. It was interesting to listen to presentations of both policy work and practical projects from near and far.
Accessible tourism is important but very complex, as so many parts need to work smoothly to make a whole trip a really good experience for tourists with high accessibility demands. The need for standardization, certification, labeling and awareness were overall themes. Many speakers tried to exceed each other in amazing pictures of one wonderful destination after another - with clear blue skies and radiant suns - while Brussels's everlasting rain drizzled against the ceiling.