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Archive for November, 2013

The Mada Assistive Technology Portal offers people with disabilities, parents and professionals a wide range of information about Assistive Technology, in both Arabic and English. The website was developed by the Mada Qatar Assistive Technology Center, and is the first of its kind in the Arab world.

This report presents the results and conclusions from a study on assessing and promoting e-accessibility. The main aims of the study were to take stock of the extent of e-accessibility across the EU27 countries and some third countries, as well as the policy efforts that have emerged in this area. The focus was on e-accessibility in three key domains – web, telecoms and TV.

The core objective was to benchmark the current situation in relation to e-accessibility, using an appropriate set of indicators. In addition to providing evidence that can help to inform about EU policy in this field, the results may be useful for other relevant stakeholders (at pan-European and Member State levels) in their efforts to promote progress in e-accessibility across Europe. The conceptual approach and results of the study can also contribute to the ongoing efforts to develop effective monitoring systems in the e-accessibility field in Europe.

Some common conclusions were made in relation to the accessibility situation for each of the three domains (web, telecoms, TV). For each area of accessibility:

  • Some progress in recent years can be detected, but there remains much room for improvement across the European Union as a whole
  • There is considerable variation across Member States in terms of the extent of accessibility that has been achieved, as well as in the specific aspects that are being addressed
  • Better results seem generally to be achieved where there are specific obligations imposed in legislation and/or by regulators; in the absence of such obligations, there seems to be a lot less likelihood that the relevant market players will have implemented accessibility measures
  • The variations across Member States suggest that, in each of the three fields, initiatives to ensure that key aspects of accessibility are consistently addressed (to a good standard of quality) might be warranted.

In the telecoms and television fields, there are existing EU Directives that address accessibility issues and these seem to have provided a stimulus for accessibility efforts in a number of the Member States. However, given the continued existence of wide variations across countries in the approaches adopted and in the levels of accessibility that are being achieved, benchlearning and other initiatives may be needed in order to support the Member States and their regulatory bodies in their efforts to ensure that the objectives of the Directives are achieved.

In the web field, the continuing variation across Member States in terms of progress towards public website accessibility suggests that EU‐level initiative in this field (possibly addressing obligations and monitoring) is warranted. Given that there are variations across Member States in terms of the likely web accessibility experiences of different user groups, a common EU‐wide approach to ensure that key aspects of web accessibility are consistently addressed in all countries in a harmonized way is needed.

Download the study on assessing and promoting e-accessibility.