Full Disclosure: Monir Elrayes is CEO of NetCentric.
The ability to access and process electronic information has become one of the most important factors in leading a full and productive life in today’s knowledge-based society. This makes access to electronic information critical for people with disabilities who are seeking employment and other opportunities.
Significant progress has been made to improve the accessibility of content presented on Web sites, often in HTML format. However, the accessibility of other electronic formats, such as Microsoft Word documents and PDFs, still lags behind and is often added as an afterthought, if at all. Given the enormous volume of content created daily — often in the form of documents authored by individuals who know little about accessibility — this means far too much material is inaccessible to far too many people.
Consequently the potential of the Information Age to level the playing field in terms of employment opportunities and to contribute positively to the lives of people with disabilities hasn’t been fully realized. For example, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the poverty rate for 25- to 64-year-olds was eight percent, compared to 11 percent for those with a non-severe disability and 26 percent for people with a severe disability.
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