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Archive for May, 2010

According to a survey conducted on behalf of the Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation by a consulting firm specialising in information technology for people with disabilities, 52 % of the Danish government websites are not fully e-accessible to people with various types of disabilities.
A total of 226 government websites were tested, including pages that are directly covered by the agreement on the mandatory open standards and a variety of other government websites. Individual pages were tested in terms of compliance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA standard and with the HyperText Markup Language (HTML) and the Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) standards.
The survey shows that almost half of the websites examined (48 %) have little or no serious accessibility problems, whereas the other half of them (52 %) include only some essential functions or are loaded with content that may not be available. Every tenth public website has been proved to be less accessible than it should.
According to the Danish Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, Ms. Charlotte Sahl-Madsen, “The results are not very satisfactory, because we expected a more positive development after the political agreement on open standards in 2008.”
There are still many public websites that are not fully IT accessible to people with various types of disabilities, according to the same survey. Therefore, ministries, regions and municipalities should be more willing to use IT solutions in order to ensure greater accessibility for all.
Furthermore, the Ministry will launch in 2011 a new eLearning tool that will provide instructions and guidance on how documents and websites can become more accessible. “The Ministry will also examine whether there is any workable international experience, we can bring into play”, says Ms. Sahl-Madsen.
Web accessibility includes, e.g. accessible design for screen reader users, access for people who cannot use a mouse and who ultimately use the keyboard alone when they need to use various functions or download content from a website, etc.
During the ministerial conference in Riga in 2006, EU member states decided to set a goal of 100 % accessible public websites by the end of 2010. However, this has been proved difficult for all countries and none of the member state is expected to reach the target before the end of 2010.
Commenting in this regard, Mr. Michael Bach Petersen, the Head of the IT and Telecom Agency, stated, “We are not alone in our challenges to ensure accessibility of public websites. Problems exist in all EU member states. We will intensify our participation in the single European work towards achieving common strategies, tools and methods to ensure that all citizens have equal access to public information and to digital public services.”
The Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation has already launched a series of initiatives designed to support the authorities’ efforts to develop and maintain accessible websites. These initiatives will be further evaluated and strengthened in order to maximise improvements for the benefit of the large group of citizens with disabilities. The initiatives include an information campaign, development of accessibility eLearning and other tools to support public authorities’ work towards web accessibility.
Source: eGov Monitor

Include 2011 takes place on 18–20 April 2011 at the Royal College of Art, Kensington Gore, London SW7 2EU, UK. The sixth International conference on Inclusive Design seeks papers on all inclusive design aspects that catalyse social innovation. The deadline for submission of a 300 word abstract is 15 June 2010.
The Role of Inclusive Design in Making Social Innovation Happen
As a concept, social innovation has growing currency in society, government, academia and business. It manifests itself in many different ways in different contexts. Its meanings extend from public service and policy innovation to initiatives in assistive technology and to aspects of civic participation and creative entrepreneurship.
In all of these areas, design has a key role to play. It can make policy visible and participation possible.
In particular, inclusive design can deliver innovations of social value to communities and markets.
Details for submission of abstracts for paper and poster presentation, and information on the Include conference event can be found on the dedicate web page.

Accessibility is becoming an ubiquitous topic nowadays, with many authorities and experts putting a lot of effort on pushing forward accessibility of software applications. Despite this fact, many ICT applications and systems are not fully accessible yet.

The development of accessible software applications requires a strong effort from developers and software designers. With the additional encumbrance of taking into account different kinds of accessibility requirements, guidelines and best practices, and different user interface implementation technologies, developers are faced with a daunting task. Therefore, the highly specialised skills required for developing accessible software sets aside most of them.

Starting from this lack of accessibility, the ACCESSIBLE EU FP7 project was established to contribute to better accessibility for all citizens, to increase the use of accessibility standards, and to develop an assessment simulation environment (including a suite of accessibility analysing tools as well as developer-aid tools) to assess efficiently, easily and rapidly the accessibility and viability of software applications for all user groups.

Actually the main goal of ACCESSIBLE is to develop appropriate open source assessment and simulation tools in order to fully support and incorporate accessibility constraints for the design and development of accessible new applications.

The ACCESSIBLE Consortium kindly invites you to participate in its first international Workshop that will take place on 13 July 2010 in the context of the 12th International Conference on Computers Helping People with Special Needs (ICCHP), in Vienna University of Technology, Austria.

The main objective of this workshop is to promote the innovative results of the ACCESSIBLE project related to the accessibility assessment and simulation technologies, to a wider community of potential users and to offer significant support to interested parties (ICT developers, designers, etc.) in order to encourage and empower them to contribute towards the inclusive ICT vision.
At the end of the Workshop, an award ceremony will be given to the organisation or to the developer of the most accessible software application (Web, mobile), according to the accessibility tests (WCAG 2.0, mobileOK) that are going to take place with ACCESSIBLE assessment tools. The ACCESSIBLE Award evaluation expert committee will be composed of well-known scientists and experts in the accessibility domain.

For more information about the ICCHP conference and the ACCESSIBLE Workshop, please visit the web page of ICCHP or the projects web page.

The 2nd Pan-European Workshop/User Forum and the 1st International ÆGIS Conference entitled “Access for All in the desktop, web and mobile field: an end-user and developer perspective” will take place in Seville, Spain on 6 and 7-8 October 2010 respectively. All events are organised by the ÆGIS IP initiative (Open Accessibility Everywhere: Groundwork, Infrastructure, Standards – www.aegis-project.eu), partially funded under FP7 (Theme: ICT‐2007.7.1; ICT & Ageing).

The Workshop/User Forum aims to bring together end-users and experts in the field of assistive technologies, from both the OSS community as well as the proprietary one, that focus on the accessibility of desktop, web and mobile applications. During the workshop the project will present the tools developed so far, and will stimulate discussions between both end-users and application developers vis-à-vis the project’s outcomes so far. The outcomes will be taken into account by the Consortium during the further course of the project. Participation to the workshop will be free of charge.

The registration form for each of the aforementioned events will be available shortly via the project’s website.

You can submit papers in the following categories:

  • Scientific papers
  • Technical papers

Conference topics (non-exhaustive list):

  • Accessible desktop applications (AT, developer tools and accessible applications)
  • Accessible mobile applications (AT, developer tools and accessible applications)
  • Accessible Rich Internet Applications (AT, developer tools and accessible applications)
  • Accessibility and Standardisation (e.g. ISO, eInclusion, Policies, Legislation)
  • Accessibility and Usability (e.g. Design for All)
  • Accessibility research (e.g. Assistive technology usage by end-users and their satisfaction, innovative AT training via accessible e-learning)

Important dates:

  • Abstracts submission deadline: Extended to 28th May 2010
  • Notification of abstracts acceptance: 14th June 2010
  • Paper submission deadline: 9th July 2010
  • Notification of acceptance and outcome of review process: 23rd July 2010
  • Final camera ready papers: 31st August 2010
  • Submission of external exhibitions by 30th June 2010
  • Registration by 30th September 2010

The IADIS Interfaces and Human Computer Interaction (IHCI) 2010 conference (Freiburg, Germany, 28 – 30 July 2010) aims to address the main issues of concern within Interface Culture and Design with a particular emphasis on the affective aspects of design, development and implementation of interfaces and the generational implications for design of human and technology interaction. This conference aims to explore and discuss innovative studies of technology and its application in interfaces and welcomes research in progress, case studies, practical demonstrations and workshops in addition to the traditional submission categories.
The conference will comprise of invited talks and oral presentations. The proceedings of the conference will be published in the form of a book and CD-ROM with ISBN, and will be available also in the IADIS Digital Library (accessible on-line).
Web site: http://www.ihci-conf.org/

REMOTE is a pan-European research project concerned with the needs of elderly and physically impaired people. The focus is especially on those living in geographical or social isolation whose independent life is at risk with chronic conditions or lifestyle risk factors. The project will provide support for an independent life at home with the aid of ambient intelligence (“AmI”, a technological approach, which means to enhance a person’s environment with sensors, radio modules, and computer processors in order to make everyday life easier) and tele-healthcare. The elderly’s personal environment will be improved with various kinds of monitoring and automation abilities or tracing activity and health condition, and detecting risks and critical situations.
For this purpose the project will use the scale-up of existing research prototypes and new systems for collecting human- and context-related data. These include sensors attached to a person’s body which measure e.g. body temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, human posture, etc. Furthermore sensors and actuators can be installed in houses or cars for providing context information, e.g., air temperature, luminance, humidity, human location and motion, etc. Health care professionals have to be able to identify and react immediately to health risks to their patients, irrespective of time and lace. As a growing number of elderly in urban as well as in rural areas live on their own, monitoring activity and medical data at anytime and from anywhere can close the growing gap between urban and rural areas and thus ensure safety and a better quality of care.
REMOTE attains this goal by introducing an innovative, ontology-driven, open reference architecture and platform that will enable interoperability, seamless connectivity and sharing of content among the different services. The project’s overall concept includes:

  • A user-centred design philosophy and the consistent involvement of its potential end-users.
  • Processes for reaching consensus among all interested parties (stakeholders).
  • Strong commitment to ethical and legal issues (e.g. equal rights, and privacy protection).
  • Measurement of usability, impact and acceptance of the project’s developments by elderly.
  • Close collaboration with research and development institutions and companies in the field of tele-healthcare and ambient intelligence.
  • Significant contribution to the recent developments in tele-healthcare and ambient intelligence.

If interested in the project, please fill in the User Forum Nomination form.
For more information: the project’s leaflet and website.