AT&T Universal Design statement

Learn about our commitment, first made in 1998, to use Universal Design principles in the design and development of communications, entertainment, and technology.

Learn about Universal Design

Universal Design means creating physical and digital environments that address the needs of the broadest range of users possible. This includes individuals in the aging and disability communities.

"[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 §1.2)

Our commitment to Universal Design

AT&T commits to using Universal Design principles in the design and development of new and redesigned physical and digital environments. We do so consistent with applicable laws, such as Sections 255 and 713 of the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA), Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

We believe that Universal Design:
  • Is a concept and a process resulting in greater inclusion for physical and digital environments across the world.
  • Drives innovation that meets the diverse needs of our customers and employees.
  • Creates a range of accessible products and services that increase our ability to serve clients in the business, education, and government sectors.
  • Meets our diversity and corporate social responsibility goals.
  • Helps achieve independence and full participation in society for more than a billion people worldwide who are aging and/or living with disabilities.

Based on this commitment, we will also:
  • Identify appropriate accessibility solutions as early as feasible in the design lifecycle.
  • Use current industry standards and guidelines, such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), hearing aid compatibility, and others that promote accessibility, usability, compatibility, and interoperability.
  • Advocate for industry standards that embrace Universal Design principles.
  • Encourage suppliers to develop accessible products and services and include contract language about accessibility, as needed.
  • Engage with groups and individuals from the aging and disability communities to ensure we are addressing their needs.

Implementing our commitment

At AT&T, applying Universal Design principles is a team effort that occurs across the company. Leadership comes from the AT&T Corporate Accessibility Technology Office (CATO). Led by the Chief Accessibility Officer, this group includes staff with extensive experience in business, compliance, technology, and accessibility, including certified accessibility professionals. They define corporate standards, offer training, and provide tools and resources to help ensure that Universal Design principles are applied and accessibility implemented by project teams throughout the company. CATO partners with all internal organizations to advance our efforts to ensure inclusion through Universal Design and accessibility. For this, they have been recognized as an industry model.

Additional Resources

Last updated: December 7, 2022

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