This section describes the relevant accessibility standards for telecommunications systems and devices and gives sample text that you can cut and paste into an RFT. This text is designed to be used in conjunction with the sample texts describing general accessibility targets, an appropriate development process, how tenders will be evaluated, etc. These sample texts are given on the writing an RFT page.

This covers fixed or mobile telecommunications devices and services delivered via interactive voice response (ivr) systems. This includes the hardware and software aspects of public or private telephones and videophones and menu-based services such as voicemail. For an introduction to the accessibility issues that arise with telecommunications systems and devices, read the section about telecoms accessibility in the nda it accessibility guidelines.

Which targets should you prescribe?

Telecommunications systems and devices should meet the NDA it accessibility guidelines for telecoms.

Suggested text for an RFT

Accessibility targets

<the system or device> should be designed in accordance with thenda it accessibility guidelines for telecoms. It should meet at least all the priority 1 guidelines and all appropriate and achievable priority 2 guidelines. Where a supplier considers any guidelines to be inappropriate or unachievable for some component of <the system or device>, this must be stated explicitly in the tender, together with an explanatory rationale.

Prior to tendering, suppliers should be satisfied that they can meet these guidelines, which are listed and clearly explained on the ndait accessibility guidelines website (http://accessit.nda.Ie/it-accessibility-guidelines/telecoms/guidelines). The deliverables will be assessed against the checklist at http://accessit.nda.Ie/it-accessibility-guidelines/telecoms/checklist.

About the nda guidelines for telecoms

They nda telecoms guidelines are presented as a number of high level user-oriented functional goals, not as precise technical specifications. The main guidelines are as follows:

  • Ensure that all operable parts are reachable by people of all
    heights and people sitting in a wheelchair or buggy;
  • Ensure that displays are within sight of people of all heights
    and people sitting in a wheelchair or buggy;
  • Ensure that controls are adequately sized and sufficiently
    spaced to be operated by people with limited dexterity;
  • Ensure that operation requires minimal strength, grip and
    wrist twisting;
  • Ensure that the device can be operated using only one
  • Ensure that users with restricted or no vision can use all
    functions of the device;
  • Ensure that all outputs under the control of the device can be
    perceived by users with restricted or no vision;
  • Ensure that videophones provide accurate reproduction of text
    and sign language;
  • Ensure that all outputs under the control of the device can be
    perceived by users with restricted or no hearing;
  • Ensure compatibility with assistive technologies;
  • If using telephone cards, ensure that the card can be inserted
    Into the card reader in its correct orientation without requiring
  • Use the simplest language possible for instructions and
    outputs and, in visual displays, supplement it with pictorial information or
    spoken language;
  • Do not cause the display to flash at a frequency of above
  • Ensure that users can get to the device along an unobstructed
    path and operate it from a stable position;
  • For interactive voice response (ivr) systems, provide an
    equivalent service through an accessible channel for users who still cannot use
    the system.

For each of these guidelines, more specific design guidance is provided, such as “distinguish phone cards with tactile markings”. A rationale and suggested testing method is provided for each guideline.

The nda application software guidelines are divided into two priority levels. Priority 1 covers the basic requirements to allow people to operate the device or service. Meeting all the priority 1 guidelines will ensure that the device or service can be reached and used by most people with impaired mobility, vision, hearing, cognition and language understanding and will interface to standard assistive technologies, such as hearing aids. Priority 2 includes guidelines dealing with understandabing device outputs and user control over of device. Meeting all the priority 2 guidelines in addition to priority 1 will help ensure the applications software is easier to use and will facilitate a greater range of people with cognitive impairments or multiple disabilities.

If procuring telecommunications systems and devices you should specify the NDA telecoms guidelines as a reference and expect that at least all the priority 1 guidelines should be met and preferably priority 2 as well.

For more information, see the NDA it accessibility guidelines for telecoms.