The Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) in partnership with inABLE yesterday launched the first-ever Kenya Standards (KS 2952-1:2022 Kenya Standard — Accessibility-ICT products and services — Part 1-Requirements, First Edition and KS 2952-2:2022 Kenya Standard — Accessibility-ICT products and services — Part 2 –Conformance, First Edition) in Africa at the Inclusive Africa Conference.
The new standard, gazetted on 13 May 2022, ensures that public and private sector digital products and services are accessible to Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) as well as older persons largely disconnected from most e-government services and business-owned digital platforms.,
Speaking during the event, Prof. Margaret Kobia, Ph.D., EGH, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry Of Public Service said, “I am pleased to note that today we witness yet another milestone in our country’s quest for disability inclusion. This is the launch of the Kenya Standard (KS ISO 2952) on Accessibility for ICT Products and Services for persons with disabilities. This launch makes Kenya the first country in Africa to develop a digital accessibility standard for persons with disabilities.” The standard provides a framework for gauging and ensuring public ICT products and services are sensitive to the needs of persons with disabilities.
It is prepared by the Joint Working Group on Accessibility of ICT Products and Services for PWDs under the guidance of the Standards Projects Committee of the Kenya Bureau of Standards. Policymakers, regulators, providers, procurers, and users of ICT products and services are the intended users of this standard. Their development is in response to the National Information, Communications and Technology (ICT) Policy of Kenya of 2020.
Lt Col (Rtd.) Bernard Njiraini, KEBS Managing Director, stated, “To accommodate all people in the society, inclusive design and universal design principles should be integrated into digital products and services.”
According to Irene Mbari-Kirika, inABLE Executive Director, “the Standards for Accessibility – ICT Products and Services, is a game-changer for public and private organisations who must now prioritise digital accessibility compliance to ensure that everyone, especially PWDs, can access their websites, mobile applications, and other digital resources.”
The Standards specify the functional accessibility requirements applicable to ICT products and services covering requirements and conformity with both software and hardware, as well as services that are covered and intended for use with web-based, non-web, and hybrid technologies.
The KS 2952 comprises a series of standards that range from Accessibility ― ICT Products and Services: Part 1, Requirements, and Part 2, Conformance. Part 1 of this standard contains the necessary functional requirements and provides a reference document such that if different actors follow procedures, the results of testing are similar and the interpretation of those results is clear. Part 2 of this standard provides determination of conformance with the individual requirements given in part 1.
The test descriptions and evaluation methodology elaborate a level of detailed compliance with ISO/IEC 17007 so that conformance testing can give conclusive results. KS 2952 sets out in a single source, detailed, practical, and quantifiable functional accessibility requirements and conformance that take note of global initiatives in that field and, which are applicable to all ICT products and services identified as usable in public procurement.
The development and implementation of these standards are in line with the global trend of technology making it possible for people to achieve more. Assistive Technology (AT) is widely adopted to ensure PWDs can access products and services. The combination of accessible ICT and AT enhances the function, independence, and overall well-being of PWDs.