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Tag: eAccessibility

The numerous political initiatives and the increasing financial involvement of firms attest of the growing attention to e-Accessibility. It was still, a few years ago, a question limited to specialists. Today, however, it is a regular preoccupation in the ICT sector. But this achievement must be nuanced. Nowadays, e-Accessibility is still considered as a supplement to the information system development: features dedicated to the disabled population, facultative feature, economical investment detached from any return on investment, e-Accessibility is often thought as an external problem, peripheral to the development of the Information Society. But it appears more and more clearly that this externalizing perspective is one of the most important reasons of the difficulties of e-Accessibility development. Technically, any underestimate of accessibility at the earliest design stage of a device or a website implies a complex and costly reengineering. Economically, it restricts the target of e-Accessibility to the disabled persons, which prevents decision makers to apprehend the larger benefits for companies and society as a whole. Finally, politically, this limited perspective turns us away from the juridical paradigm stating that society, not the individual, is responsible for any disability and, from this point of view, that accessibility is a primordial need for everyone. For all these reasons, putting e-Accessibility at the core is an urgent technological, economical and socio-political necessity. It is in this context that the Institute of e-Accessibility (IAN) organizes the 6th European Forum on e-Accessibility on the theme: “Putting e-Accessibility at the core of the information systems”. Registration is now open.
Link to event website.

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

First results of the 1st survey of the eAccessibility2020 study are available. The detailed analysis will be available in early September.

Basic statistics (as of 27/07/11):

The mean age of the respondents is 44 (ranging from 25 to 86 years old) with 73% of them being men and 27% being women. 18% of the respondents fall under the category of either having a disability or being a carer of a disabled person or being above 65. Finally 14% of the responses came from countries outside the EU.

Results:

Concerning the ‘User Needs’ respondents consider that practically all aspects of life of older people and people with disabilities will require new eAccessibility solutions by 2020. Health (Health: access to medical ICT devices & Health: access to e-health information services) and employment (Employment: e-work applications of tomorrow) appear at the top of the list.
In the same area of ‘User Needs’, respondents rate as more important for new eAccessibility solutions in 2020 the: cognitive disabilities and the multiple disabilities. These two types of disability are ranked first in the list that covers also visual, hearing, speech, mobility and psychological disabilities.
From a technological perspective and according to the survey results, 4 novel ICT solutions have been highlighted among a list of 18 as the most promising for the development of new eAccessibility solutions in 2020:

  • New Human Computer Interaction (HCI) Interfaces and Platforms
  • Motion and Gesture-recognition Systems
  • Ambient Intelligence (e.g. appliances and devices embedded in the home environment, that are context aware i.e. recognise the user and also personalized or even anticipatory)
  • Language Technologies (Natural Language Processing)

Respondents recognise that there is evidence of future societal, technology and/or market trends affecting (directly or indirectly) the development of e-accessibility solutions. The following 3 trends reach the top:

  • Societal trend: Growing number of older people living alone
  • ICT trend: Multi-purpose interaction devices (e.g. smart phones and terminals)
  • Market trend: Mainstreaming of accessibility in ICT products and services

Finally, in the question ‘How important do you judge each of the following initiatives / actions for the future mainstreaming of e-Accessibility solutions?’ surprisingly responses bring ‘Enhancing awareness on eAccessibility requirements among IT developers/ companies’ on the top, leaving below other important initiatives such as: stricter policy enforcement, research at EU level or networking among relevant actors.

As part of the “Monitoring eAccessibility” Study, an online survey is taking place. This study will provide an overview of the status and progress of eAccessibility-related policies and technologies in 12 selected European countries and three non-European countries. The topic of this survey is “eAccessibility”, in other words the ways that people with disabilities and others (such as older people) overcome the technical barriers and difficulties they experience when trying to participate on equal terms in the information society.
ICT is increasingly essential for daily life and work. ICT contributes to efficiency and quality of public services, business opportunities, workers’ productivity and overall competitiveness.
The opinion of organisations representing people with disabilities and users is very valuable for the aim of this study, and for that reason Technosite would kindly ask you to disseminate the participation in this survey throughout all your contacts and relevant organizations.
The results of this questionnaire will be compared with the data collected from ICT and policy experts in order to have the widest possible view of the current eAccessibility context. For this reason, it is really important that every organisation completes the relevant parts of the questionnaire, even if eAccessibility is not a core feature of their activities.
This questionnaire asks about the everyday eAccessibility experiences of end users and people with disabilities, and does not require any specific technical knowledge.
The information collected in the survey will be processed anonymously. It will be used to make comparisons between countries but not linked to any individual organisations, and will be used for non-commercial purposes.
To access to the questionnaire, please follow these easy steps:

  • Go to http://www.eaccessibility-monitoring.eu
  • In the section “National experts” in the bottom right hand corner, enter the following user and password.
    Name: User066
    Password: User066_01
  • Click on “Survey”
  • On the left side, click on “add” and after that, click on “Continue”.
  • From this point, you can now start to complete the questionnaire. It should not take you more than 10-15 minutes. Please, do not forget to click on “send” in the last page of the questionnaire to finish it correctly.

The questionnaire is divided into 20 topics. The first one, “About your Organisation” is to collect facts and figures about your organisation and is solely to collect statistical data. Each of the following 19 sections addresses a specific aspect of eAccessibility that falls within the scope of this study.
Each section has one or more questions regarding specific technologies or policy indicators in relation to a particular ICT domain. Not all questions / sections may be relevant to the user group(s) represented by your organisation or address your expertise. Wherever this is the case, you only need to tick the box provided below the question and move on to the next one. At the bottom of each question there is also an optional field in which you may add comments, suggestions or clarifications relating to that specific topic.
Should you have any questions or problems in completing the questionnaire do not hesitate to get in touch at any time. Please send an email explaining your question to users66@technosite.es. Technosite has also provided you with a glossary of the key terms used in the survey.
They would be very grateful if you could complete the questionnaire by May 8th 2011.

The EU eAccess+ thematic network is developing a range of support systems for co-ordinating, supporting and improving the implementation of eAccessibility throughout Europe. The network has a special focus on three topics within eAccessibility (Web accessibility, Accessible convergent communications and accessible digital audio-visual systems, Self-service terminals (SSTs) and devices for banking and financial services, public transport, tourism and cultural heritage, e-government).

The network will involve all stakeholder groups (including legislators, regulators, policy makers, commissioners, owners and deployers of systems, developers of hardware and software, user organizations, researchers, accessibility and usability experts, educators), analyse the state of the art on eAccessibility, and analyse the obstacles and missing links hindering the uptake of eAccessibility

To address the current problems of improving eAccessibility, the network will develop online resources such as a website, wikis, and podcasts to address key eAccessibility topics, gather and review relevant information such as standards and guidelines, seek out examples of good practice and relevant case studies, and provide initial advice and links to appropriate more detailed advice services when needed.
More information on the project website.

The 10th edition of the ePractice Journal (September 2010) showcases the state of the art, presents examples of best practice and highlights the challenges of eAccessibility implementation in the Information Society. You can download the issue via this link.