According to the United Nations, 10 % of the world's population – 650 million people – are affected by some kind of disability. In addition, one quarter of all citizens in developed countries are 60 or older and, by 2050, most developing countries will have caught up. In view the enormous impact on the social and economic situation in countries around the world, the September issue of ISO Focus+, the magazine of ISO (International Organization for Standardization) is devoting its Special Report to accessibility.

In today's information society, good accessibility or usability is necessary when handling everyday technology, from mobile phones and household appliances to keyboards and copying machines.

The theme of accessibility is developed through the work of the different ISO technical committees that develop related ISO standards.

An array of articles covers subjects such as user interface accessibility, as well as accessibility and usability of the built environment. They shows how ISO standards are powerful tools for addressing these issues and help manufacturers, governments, regulators, designers and architects designing products and services to improve quality of life for all.

Other articles underline how International Standards answer the needs of older people and or people with disabilities, and how products and services can be adapted to different users.

The issue also features an exclusive interview with Dr. Andrew S. Imada, President of the International Ergonomics Association (IEA). He states, "Accessibility, as well as ergonomics, emphasizes the need to focus on the human when designing products and services. Both place humans, with individual abilities, preferences and needs, at the center of the process."

Accessibility is also at the core of this year's theme for World Standards Day on 14 October – "Standards make the world accessible for all" – and will be highlighted at an international workshop on 3-4 November 2010 in Geneva, Switzerland, to review and examine the standards needed for facilitating the development of accessible solutions around the world.

The September issue of ISO Focus+ also features an article on "The football makers of Sialkot" With the excitement over the 2010 World Cup still fresh in the memory, there are many stories behind the successes and the broken dreams. But one especially, the story of the city of Sialkot in the Punjab Province of Pakistan, has many facets — from the thousands of footballs manufactured for international soccer matches, to collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to combat child labour – and the influence of ISO standards.

ISO Focus+, September 2010

ISO Focus+, September 2010

Accessibility for all