Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Milestones in Mobile Accessibility: the Tenth Anniversary of GARI

In 2008, GARI started out as a collection of features listed in a simple spreadsheet. Ten years on, we are looking at a database featuring over 1,500 devices in 5 product groups and 18 languages. GARI continues to serve its original purpose: the need to inform consumers about accessibility solutions currently available in the market place. To this day, we have elderly people thinking that digital devices are just too complicated for them and we still have persons with disabilities walking into phone shops and being told there is no device that would be suitable for them.

This is taking place against a backdrop when the mobile phone has developed into something akin to the universal remote control, a way of accessing a wide range of services and remote controlling other devices. It has also become our constant companion. A companion that we need to be accessible and usable. And many devices indeed are. However, the knowledge about the availability and use of many of the best features is still limited and there remain a lot of people who still need information on accessible devices and support in selecting those that best suit their needs.

While we continue to address those needs, we have come a long way over the last 10 years. So what have we achieved?

  • a freely available online database of accessible devices in 18 languages
  • information on over 100 accessibility features in 1,500+ mobile phones, tablets, Smart TVs and Wearables
  • a list of 400+ accessibility related mobile applications 
  • a de-facto industry standard for accessible devices that helps promote accessibility in all markets 
  • the participation of 19 different manufacturers 
  • presentations and awareness building at 3-4 major conferences per year
  • adoption of the GARI database by 9 government bodies around the world in order to advance mobile accessibility at a national level
  • over half a million page-views and over 50,000 unique visits per month to the GARI website 
  • 4 feature reviews with active participation from many international and national organisations of persons with disabilities, representatives of consumer and senior citizen organisations, accessibility experts and national regulators 

And just in time for our 10 year anniversary, GARI was selected as an innovative ICT practice in accessibility and will be presented at the Zero Project conference in Vienna in February 2018.