Mission and Beliefs

The mission of the Raising the Floor is:

To make the web and mobile technologies accessible to everyone with disability, literacy and aging-related barriers, regardless of their economic status.

More specifically, Raising the Floor seeks to ensure:
  1. that access technologies are available for all types of functional impairment including those due to disability, literacy level, or effects of aging,
  2. that these access technologies are effective enough to provide access to the ever evolving technologies used to create Internet based information, services and communities, and
  3. that these access technologies are affordable for those of all socio-economic levels and all communities.

RtF is a dynamic, constantly evolving effort. In order to guide our development and operation we have developed a set of beliefs and principles that underlie all of our efforts and shape our decisions over time and across projects. They describe both the objectives and the operating approach of the group. 


Beliefs

The organizers and supporters of the Raising the Floor Initiative believe

  1. That access to the Internet, including all of its information, resources, services and communities, is rapidly becoming essential to an individual's ability to participate and compete in their and the global society, or even to live independently.
     
  2. That people who are experiencing temporary or permanent functional limitations due to their disability, literacy, digital literacy, or age should be able to access these Internet resources as freely as their peers.  
           This includes individuals who have little or no resources to devote to special adaptations or software and who often do not access the Internet with their own computers but rather through the computers they encounter in their environment (e.g. community centers, libraries, schools or others).
     
  3. That people should not have to sacrifice their privacy and security in order to get accessibility.
     
  4. That commercial assistive technologies are a critical part of the ecosystem and must be facilitated at the same time that basic accessibility is built into the Internet infrastructure.  
     
  5. That we should maximize the portion of the problem that can be addressed through normal market mechanisms, and minimize that which needs to be addressed through government or philanthropic resources. 
     
  6. That an open collaborative process can maximize progress by allowing all to build upon each others' work and those that came before us.
     
  7. That open source software ( both free and commercial open source software) promotes community collaboration, allows contribution by individuals and organizations of all sizes, can lower the cost to develop and maintain access software for all, and allows adaptation as needed to accommodate different needs, languages and cultures.
     
  8. That any infrastructure must support both commercial and free (open source and proprietary) technologies on a level playing field.  
     
  9. That this work requires people with a wide range of both technical and non-technical skills.
     
  10. That this is an international issue and requires an international approach and participation,  and that the ability to easily adapt and apply the results in different countries, languages and cultures is critical.

These beliefs led us to a set of Operating Principles.