Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Accessibility features on mobile phones - let manufacturers know what you need

The Mobile Manufacturers Forum (MMF) invites all stakeholders to participate in the 3rd feature review of the GARI database.

The Global Accessibility Reporting Initiative (GARI) is an online database for accessible mobile phones, tablets and accessibility related apps that help consumers find devices that respond to their individual needs. Currently, GARI includes information on over 100 accessibility features of more than 1,100 mobile phones and 50 tablets across all regions as well as around 230 accessibility related and assistive apps.

As part of the GARI project, the MMF has committed to invite all stakeholders to provide any comments or suggestions on the features that they would like to see reported on by manufacturers. In the last feature review carried out in late 2013, some of the features added to GARI were HD Audio, Copy & Paste Function, Assistive Touch, Braille Display and several more.

When looking at the features listed in GARI, it has to be kept in mind that GARI serves also as reporting tool for manufacturers in countries where accessibility regulations are in place. Some features such as the capability of receiving/sending SMS might seem unnecessary to mention but for the sake of satisfying regulations, it is still listed as an explicit accessibility feature on GARI. Also important to consider is the global character of GARI. When suggesting new features, ask yourself whether they are relevant only in your country or across borders as well.

The current list of 110 features is easily accessible via www.gari.info. Under advanced search, you find all the features listed for mobile phones and tablets: http://www.gari.info/findphones-advanced.cfm

Please do consider that the more concrete you are in your suggestions the more likely it is that we can integrate your input. A perfect way to provide your suggestions would be to specify:

  • The Proposed Feature
  • The Category of the Feature (e.g Hardware, Hearing, Vision, Dexterity, Cognition)
  • A Proposed Description of the Feature
  • The Type of Response Required (Yes/No or other response)
  • Any Technical Note or Reference

Examples and use cases are very welcome!

We  would also be happy to learn about which apps you consider as helpful to overcome barriers caused by disability and to include them in the GARI listing of accessibility related apps.

Mobile wireless technology continues to evolve at an incredible pace, with many of the developments having the potential to significantly enhance the accessibility of a device. We would welcome comments or suggestions that you have in relation to any new features that we should consider adding.

Please send your feedback to michael(.)milligan(@)mmfai(.)info by 26 June 2015.