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New GARI Website Launched!

August 15, 2013 - Access to mobile communications might have become a lot easier for the almost one in five people who live with a disability with the launch of a new service to help identify which smartphones and tablets provide the critical features they need to communicate.

The new website - www.GARI.info – announced today at the M-enabling Australasia conference in Sydney is the latest update to the mobile industry’s Global Accessibility ReportingInitiative (GARI) to help older people and those with a disability search for mobile devices that suit their specific accessibility requirements.

Mobile Manufacturers Forum (MMF) Secretary General Michael Milligan said users could now search for devices that run their favourite accessibility apps as well as more than 110 other features on the GARI database for people with mobility, vision, hearing, speech or cognitive impairments.

The CEO of the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA), Chris Althaus said the new website is an important step in the industry’s commitment to breaking down the barriers that make it difficult for some members of the community to enjoy the benefits of mobile communication.

The new GARI website provides consumers with a dedicated online resource designed as a one-stop shop for information about mobile device accessibility options.

The new website allows users to search and compare devices based on their particular disability, or alternatively check the accessibility features of a specific model of phone or tablet they may be interested in buying.

Some of the most popular features to search for on the GARI database include:

• Front-mounted cameras. This simple feature may seem a novelty to some, but for many users with hearing loss it can make the world of difference allowing them to carry out a face-to-face sign language conversation using a video call or conferencing function.

• Simplified display. Smartphones and tablets have become so advanced that they can be too difficult or confusing to use for some older people or those with a cognitive disability. That’s why some devices also come with the ability to simplify their user display showing you only the functions of the phone you want to use, hiding the rest out of sight.

• Voice recognition. Allows you to make and receive calls and access other features of a phone or tablet through simple voice commands. This feature can be particularly useful for people with mobility or dexterity problems or those with vision impairments.

“We have worked closely with the disability support industry since the GARI project started in 2009 and the change in technology since then to smartphones and apps has opened up exciting new opportunities for people with disabilities to take advantage of mobile technology to enhance their lives,” Mr Milligan said.

Additional Information

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The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Wireless Technologies is sponsored by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services under grant number 90RE5007-01-00. The opinions contained in this website are those of the Wireless RERC and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services or NIDILRR.