Solutions for Customers with Disabilities

Universal Design Policy

Policy Summary
Policy Application
AT&T's Commitment to Universal Design
Adopting Universal Design Principles


Universal design is critical to millions of older Americans and those with disabilities who depend on communications for employment, education, social interaction, recreation, and other life activities. Access to communications is critical for full participation in today's society.

Policy Summary

AT&T supports universal design to make new communications products and services accessible to and usable by individuals with disabilities, consistent with applicable laws such as Section 255 and 713 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). AT&T commits its good faith efforts to apply universal design principles.

Policy Application

  • "[Universal Design] is the practice of designing products so they are usable by the broadest possible audience without reducing the usability or attractiveness for mass or core audiences of the product. With universal design, the goal is to ensure maximum flexibility, benefits, and ease of use for as many individuals as possible." (Telecommunications Access Advisory Committee Final Report, January, 1997 S1.2)
  • Universal design means creating products and services that address the needs of its customers, including aging customers and those with temporary or permanent disabilities affecting vision, hearing, mobility, speech or cognition.

AT&T Universal Design Policy Adopted in 1998 Background

AT&T supports the application of universal design principles in developing new communications services and products to make products and services more appealing and useful to the broadest range of customers.

  • AT&T's product development processes will consider the universal design implications in the design of new products and services, and when making enhancements to AT&T's product and service offerings, so greater accessibility is addressed at the start
  • AT&T will build in alternative means of access, where feasible and consistent with Section 255 and Section 508
  • AT&T will adhere to existing industry accessibility standards and guidelines, including Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and hearing aid compatibility
  • AT&T will work to identify improved user interfaces and interoperability, where feasible
  • AT&T will employ customer focused (user centered) design
  • AT&T will encourage its suppliers/vendors to develop accessible products and services and include contract language about accessibility and compatibility, as appropriate
  • AT&T will address the needs of people with disabilities and older individuals in market research, product conceptualization, human factors research, field trials, and product marketing
  • AT&T will advocate for industry standards that conform to universal design principles
  • AT&T will work to keep its Website innovative, user friendly and accessible to people with disabilities

Why Adopt Universal Design Principles?

Universal design is consistent with AT&T's commitment to diversity and corporate social responsibility and helps AT&T introduce new and innovative high tech products and services. Actively involving and listening to diverse groups of customers throughout the design process helps products and services incorporate features that meet customer needs throughout life's changes, particularly for those with disabilities. A portfolio of accessible products and services also enhances AT&T's ability to serve enterprise clients who also must comply with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and government clients who must consider accessibility and usability of products and services in their purchasing decisions.