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Tag: web accessibility

Equal access to public information and services for all is an essential part of the United Nations (UN) Declaration of Human Rights. Today, the Web plays an important role in providing information and services to citizens. Unfortunately, many government Web sites are poorly designed and have accessibility barriers that prevent people with disabilities from using them.
The article Global Web Accessibility Analysis of National Government Portals and Ministry Web Sites (Morten Goodwin; Deniz Susar; Annika Nietzio; Mikael Snaprud; Christian S. Jensen) combines current Web accessibility benchmarking methodologies with a sound strategy for comparing Web accessibility among countries and continents. Furthermore, the article presents the first global analysis of the Web accessibility of 192 United Nation Member States made publicly available.
The article also identifies common properties of Member States that have accessible and inaccessible Web sites and shows that implementing antidisability discrimination laws is highly beneficial for the accessibility of Web sites, while signing the UN Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities has had no such effect yet. The article demonstrates that, despite the commonly held assumption to the contrary, mature, high-quality Web sites are more accessible than lower quality ones. Moreover, Web accessibility conformance claims by Web site owners are generally exaggerated.

Details:
Global Web Accessibility Analysis of National Government Portals and Ministry Web Sites
Morten Goodwin; Deniz Susar; Annika Nietzio; Mikael Snaprud; Christian S. Jensen
Journal of Information Technology & Politics, 1933-169X, Volume 8, Issue 1, 2011, Pages 41 – 67

WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) and its key copyright committee is currently considering a draft treaty that would create an enabling environment to address exceptions and limitations to international copyright law. See more at http://www.visionip.org/portal/en/index.html.
WIPO also organised a workshop from February 2 to 5, 2010, to promote awareness about accessibility for people with disabilities and to encourage webmasters within the United Nations system and other organizations to implement principles of accessibility in their daily work. The WIPO launched in 2008 the visually impaired persons (VIP) initiative to explore ways to facilitate and enhance access to literary, artistic and scientific works for the VIP community. WIPO member states have acknowledged the special needs of the blind, visually impaired and other print-disabled persons. The Organization’s key copyright committee, the Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR), is currently considering a draft treaty that would create an enabling legal environment to address exceptions and limitations to international copyright law.

In her speech on the new European digital agenda of 1st October Commissioner Reding addressed e-accessibility and web accessibility.

She said: “… We cannot achieve the Single Market by leaving aside certain parts of our population. I am talking about e-accessibility: 15% of our population is disabled and our rules on accessibility are still fragmented. Each Member State is going its own way. We have to consider that this is costly for industry because they have to respond to a wide range of fragmented national standards. It also leaves disabled people without a consistent level of service that they can expect. What should we do? We should in my view encourage the European-wide adoption of the global web accessibility standard, the new Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. We should do it together and in step so that the online services industry can reap economies of scale and the users get a decent and reliable framework. I believe the way we should do this is to develop together with stakeholders a European Disability Act.”

Read the full speech.

The recent adoption of WCAG 2.0, the ongoing work with the standardization mandate 376 on incorporating accessibility in public ICT procurements provide a new momentum for web accessibility. Expert meetings like the one which took place on 23 March 2009, where representatives of users and industry presented their views of what is required to achieve progress, are intended to provide the European Commission with advice on how to boost web accessibility in the EU Member States.
All information can be found on http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/activities/einclusion/events/workshop_web_access_09/index_en.htm.