Plain-e: Accessibility for Everyone (Plain-e)

Published on: 20/11/2007
Plain-e-project was launched in January 2003 under the title "Plain-e: Accessibility for Everyone" with the purpose to promote accessibility of public web-services for people with learning disabilities. Plain-e especially promotes accessibility to the content and the use of plain-language. The goal is achieved educating both users and those who decide on and design public web-services; gathering information from usability tests and training for basic users with learning disabilities and distributing it to web-professionals; making statements concerning accessibility issues and web-services; publishing free guides for end users and networking with other accessibility related activities.

Description of target users and groups

People who have problems in understanding ICT or who have other learning disabilities. E.g. people who are elderly, disabled, dyslexic or immigrant; People who are about to be excluded from information society development. Target group lacks social, intellectual, educational, social or economical skills to acquire enough information to take part in information society development. Due to their lack of ability to handle information they are in danger to marginalize. They need plain-language guides and material to take part in Information society. Also they need to be seen and heard by those who decide and shape Internet and information services.

Description of the way to implement the initiative

Almost all of our methods are well-known and used widely in other areas, but not with people with learning disabilities. Our longer courses have 2-4 periods which extend over the year. Between periods, the students do some remote work in their homes with email, messageboard and homepages. After the course-year, students may keep the tools they have learnt get tools (open source programs and homepage space), which they have learnt to use.

Technology solution

Plain-e uses mainstream technology and open source software when possible. Mainstream tecnology and open source products are easily available people after training period whereas more tailored and commercial are not. We try to take consideration the social and economical dimensions of the Accessibility. Support for use of mainstream technology and open source products are more likely aivailable for users with limited incomes and social networks. In the Net framwork, we try to avoid commercial products to show the way to the others.

Main results, benefits and impacts

Plain-e website have over 3000 different visitors (different IP :s) per month. Frequent contacs made by those who organize courses for people with learning disabilities.

Return on investment

Return on investment: Not applicable / Not available

Track record of sharing

All Plain-e training sessions are free of charge. All material produced is available free in the Internet. They are available for printing and reproducing free of charge. All printed materials are either free or covering only printing and posting fees.

Lessons learnt

Real accessibility might be very far from guidelines offered by instutions. Accessibility is an indivisible whole, and cannot be determined only by instructions. People are always needed. Without visibility of real users with special needs is very hard to convince decision-makers to take them into consideration. It is extra hard for People with learning disabilities to express their cognitive problems to others. Scope: National