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ISO/IEC Publishes Survey of Icons and Symbols

Published: Monday, July 30, 2007 - 22:00

(ISO: Geneva) -- Using computers and the Internet can be a challenge for anyone, let alone the elderly or people with disabilities. The International Organization for Standardization and the International Electrotechnical Commission are contributing to a technical report on accessibility icons and symbols that will make information technology products easier to use for the elderly, the disabled, and everyone else.

The technical report contains a survey of icons and symbols currently used to provide access to functions and facilities of IT products by people with visual, hearing, motor, or cognitive disabilities, and also by the elderly, the temporarily disabled, and by those with no disability at all.

“This technical report is part of a series of standards aimed at making IT more usable,” says Yves Neuville, Ph.D., chair of the subcommittee that is responsible for its development. “We are not solely concerned with ensuring that the elderly and people with disabilities are treated the same as other users. We want all users to be able to use and contribute to IT services more effectively.”

ISO/IEC TR 19765:2007, “Information technology—Survey of icons and symbols that provide access to functions and facilities to improve the use of information technology products by the elderly and persons with disabilities,” is expected to benefit people with a wide range of disabilities by removing barriers that prevent them from using or getting the best out of IT products and, in so doing, contribute to their overall effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction.

The issue of accessibility to products and services has become more critical with the increasing percentage of older people in the population worldwide. While not all older persons have disabilities, the prevalence of disability or limitations is higher among this demographic group.

The icons and symbols contained in ISO/IEC TR 19765 have been collected from a variety of sources including other standards, contemporary software products, Web sites, and hardware devices. These sources are cross-referenced and listed in the bibliography.

ISO/IEC TR 19765:2007 costs 114 Swiss francs and is available from ISO national member institutes and from ISO Central Secretariat. The new technical report is the work of Joint technical committee ISO/IEC JTC 1, Information technology, subcommittee SC 35, User Interfaces, working groups WG 2,User interface interaction, and WG 6, User interfaces for disabled and the elderly.

Note: ISO and IEC do not in any way endorse, recommend, or dissuade the use of any of the icons or symbols presented in this technical report.

For more information, visit www.iso.org/iso/en/commcentre/pressreleases/2007/Ref1065.html.

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