CTIA has launched a redesign of its AccessWireless.org site to help people with disabilities shop for wireless devices.
CTIA has redesigned its AccessWireless.org
Website to help people
with disabilities as well as seniors and their families choose wireless
On the site, MMF
Mobile Manufacturer Forum), a trade association for mobile phone
manufacturers, has integrated its GARI (Global Accessibility Reporting
Initiative) database into the Find a Phone section to allow consumers
phones' accessibility features.
"The GARI project was designed to address a simple need to help
people find cell phones with the sort of features that will make
communicating easier either for themselves or for those they care
Milligan, MMF secretary general, said in a statement. "Through our
partnership with CTIA, we can now expand awareness of the project and
more people to benefit from it."
CTIA announced the redesign of AccessWireless.org on March 23.
The site incorporates some accessibility features for people with
vision challenges, including text zoom settings up to 200 percent and
various text and background colors.
"The reason why we created AccessWireless is we want to make sure everyone has access to wireless products and services,
particularly those with disabilities," K. Dane Snowden, vice president of
external and state affairs for CTIA, told eWEEK.
"With over 630 wireless devices in this country, we want to make
sure that someone with cognitive visual or hearing disability can
go through the site and figure out what types of phones would fit my
needs," Snowden said.
The FCC provided input for the Website along with advocacy groups
such as the American Foundation for the Blind and HLAA (Hearing Loss
Association of America (HLAA).
"With wireless such a major part of our lives today, the newly
designed CTIA Website is a valuable resource for people to find
accessible devices they can use depending on their needs," Brenda
Battat, HLAA executive director, said in a statement. "HLAA will
CTIA's Website to consumers looking for mobile devices that will work
with their hearing aids and cochlear implants."
The site is compatible with all screen readers that meet the
standard set by the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium), according to
"A screen reader reads our site, and we had it tested to meet all of
standards to ensure that anybody with a disability, be it blind or
use the site easily," he said.
Snowden notes that people with disabilities can use ordinary
smartphones these days with all of the apps available to them, making
devices for people with disabilities obsolete. "With the proliferation
apps, particularly targeted to consumers with disabilities, all of
secondary machines are no longer needed. They can use an app all on one
One iPhone app called LookTel Money
allows the visually impaired to count money by pointing the iPhone's camera at the bill.
In addition, the proliferation of text messaging and instant
messaging has eased communication for the hearing impaired, Snowden
"You see deaf kids now carrying on full conversations with a hearing
child because now they have a way to bridge that communication gap," he