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Archive for October, 2011

Web Accessibility Initiative – Cooperation Framework for Guidance on Advanced Technologies, Evaluation Methodologies, and Research Agenda Setting to Support eAccessibility (WAI-ACT) will address critical areas of advanced accessibility support through activities that build upon the strengths of past web accessibility work, harmonize existing work, and help shape a research agenda in coordination with key stakeholders in Europe and internationally.

The project addresses the need for expanded European and international cooperation on the development of accessibility solutions for people with disabilities; for consensus-based, authoritative technical guidance to accelerate implementation of advanced technologies; for internationally harmonised evaluation methodologies; and for a coordinated research agenda on eAccessibility.

WAI-ACT addresses these challenges through development of a framework for open, expanded cooperation among European and international stakeholders, technical guidance on advanced web technologies; an evaluation methodology for web accessibility; and a research agenda for eAccessibility. Technical guidance will include a repository of information on accessibility support in web technologies, application notes on authoring accessible web page components, and code samples for web applications. WAI-ACT will result in: Expanded cooperation on the development of accessibility solutions; Authoritative accessibility guidance on advanced web technologies; Harmonized methodologies for evaluating accessibility of websites; and Common visions for a coordinated eAccessibility research agenda

WAI-ACT is co-funded by the European Commission as a Specific Support Action under the IST 7th Framework Programme. It is lead by and builds upon the strengths of the existing World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) cooperation mechanisms to facilitate strategic European and international participation throughout the project. Other project partners are Stiching Bartimeus Accessibility (SBA), Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology (Fraunhofer), and Johannes Keppler University (JKU). WAI-ACT will also seek active exchange with relevant networks in Europe such as eAccess+, and coordinate standardisation activities such as EC Mandate M/376.

WAI-ACT Project started as of 1 September 2011.
European Commission Project, 7th Framework Programme, IST 287725

Source: Project website

CEN, CENELEC and ETSI are organising a 2nd open workshop on “European Accessibility requirements in public procurement of ICT products and services” to be held in Brussels on 28 October 2011. This is the second of a series of three workshops that give stakeholders an opportunity to learn about the work, to discuss the latest drafts of the standards and reports and to give feedback about the work being done.
Participation is free of charge, but registration is required. Palentype and sign language can be made available upon request.

Following English spoken videos provide an extensive overview of the status of the European Assistive Technologies market, aims and objectives of the AEGIS project, and the outcomes as was presented at the DRT4ALL conference on 27/06/2011 in Madrid, Spain, in the dedicated panel on “Technical Aid: Future and Reality”.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

A benchmarking study has been undertaken to map the level of accessibility in EU public websites in comparison with legislative provisions and the deadline for implementation of WCAG 2.0.

The variables considered in this report are:

  • Accessibility of public web sites
  • Internet accessibility policy
  • Deadline for implementation of WCAG 2.0 in public sector web sites

The underlying hypotheses are:

  • The higher the level of implementation of Internet accessibility policy, the more positive the situation of accessibility of the public websites is expected to be.
  • The earlier the deadline for the implementation of WCAG 2.0 in public sector websites, the more positive the situation of accessibility of the public websites is expected to be.

Initial outcomes are available and indicate a positive correlation of Internet accessibility policy versus Accessibility of public web sites.
The situation is however still poor, exceptions being Spain and the UK where the Accessibility of public web sites is higher than 60%. With merely 20%, France rates the poorest.

Following its objective of making digital technology more accessible to all, the European Commission has just announced that it is to fund a project which aims to make self-service terminals easier for people with disabilities to use: the APSIS4All project, to which the European Commission will provide funding of €3.41 million.
“Public self-service terminals can be found everywhere, and their numbers keep increasing. Yet, many present a challenge for persons with disability or for some elderly persons, denying them the service”, said Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes. As the European Commission’s European Disability Strategy 2010-2020 asserts: “accessibility is a precondition for participation in society and in the economy”.
The project will design and validate, in real-life situation, innovative, personalised digital terminals that overcome existing accessibility barriers. The goal of the project is to propose a standardised framework that could help bank cash machines (automated teller machines or ATMs) and other public digital terminals be more accessible to a wider range of users, from people who are not familiar with the technology, to people with reading difficulties, and tourists who do not master the local language.
For example, tests could involve a programmed card that contains the user’s preferences. When the user brings the card close to the terminals, the machine instantly adapts to the user’s needs (possibly even changing the size of the font or choice of language). Other interfaces could include a mobile phone with accessibility features that enables a customer to purchase a ticket online and pay at the machine issuing the ticket using a secure code sent to their phone.
To access the project website: