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Making technology accessible in Qatar

Mada (Qatar Assistive Technology Center) is a non-profit organization established by the Supreme Council of Information and Communication Technology (ICT Qatar) which is dedicated to connecting people with disabilities to the world of information and communication technology. In addition to offering a comprehensive Assistive Technology service which includes assessment, training, and provision, Mada also provides a wide range of free services in the area of e-Accessibility. These services include; consultancy, accessibility review reporting, training sessions, and support for web developers and managers of digital content.

 

Why is e-Accessibility important?

More and more people are accessing digital content in different ways. Whether it is through handheld devices, or through different operating systems and browsers, people are accessing the web in newer and unconventional ways. For people with disabilities, the importance of accessing digital content is compounded when trying to access opportunities in the areas of employment and education. Providing an accessible web experience ensures that the greatest number of people can learn about your products and services through the internet, and exemplifies your commitment to building an accessible digital ecosystem. There are other benefits from having accessible websites. Businesses can reach a larger number of potential customers. Accessible websites commonly demonstrate a greater ease of use, which benefits everyone. Websites that are built with accessibility in the process, require less maintenance and migrate more readily across multiple platforms.

e-Accessibility in Qatar and beyond

In 2011, ICT Qatar released the National e-Accessibility Policy which aims to raise the level of accessibility across all digital platforms. Mada’s e-Accessibility services were established as part of this national effort to make digital content more accessible to all. The Policy states that all public domain websites in Qatar must meet WCAG 2.0 double "A" level of international accessibility standards by 2013 for new websites and 2015 for existing websites. In addition to websites, the Policy also identified the need for accessible public telephones, emergency services, Automated Teller Machines as well as funds allocated to finance the Assistive Technology requirements of people with disabilities in Qatar. Efforts to increase levels of e-Accessibility in Qatar are part of a global effort in this area. Mada works closely with organizations from all over the world to ensure that the efforts made in one country can have an impact anywhere. Mada actively participates in discussions and debates on the future of e-Accessibility to ensure the needs of Arabic speakers are accounted for.

Download the Qatar National e-Accessibility Policy. There are links to two PDF documents;
English and Arabic versions:

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