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EU's database of assistive IT hit by teething problems

The EU has announced the launch of a free online portal that will enable disabled people and professionals who work with them to find the right assistive information and communications technology (ICT).

The €600,000 (£512,000) project, called ATis4all, will allow users to search existing product data across national databases in UK, France, Germany, Denmark, Italy, Netherlands and Belgium.

Visitors, say the portal's developers, will be able to find products such as voice recognition and text to speech packages, magnification software, mouse alternatives and differently shaped and sized keyboards.

However, early teething troubles mean that at the time of writing, the search features of the portal are not available to visitors.

ATis4alll, which took three years to build, is intended to allow  visitors to browse customer reviews and join discussion forums where both end-users and professionals can exchange and share ideas and experiences.

People involved with AT can register under one of four categories: unregistered user, registered user, supporter and guru.

The project is led by Technosite, an arm of the Spanish blind charity ONCE. Other partners include big names such as Blackberry and Vodafone, while UK participants include charities AbilityNet and Business Disability Forum. 

“Whether you are a speech therapist, an occupational health specialist, an IT consultant or an HR manager, you will find objective, unbiased and up-to-date information on all the options in one place for the first time,” says Stefan Sollinger, Senior Accessibility and Usability Consultant at AbilityNet . 

“And for disabled people themselves, whether they have a vision impairment, dyslexia or physical problem making mouse use impossible, it offers a one-stop-shop for all their IT needs that is simple to navigate and comprehensive in its approach.”  


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