ACCESSIBILITY OF ICT PRODUCTS AND SERVICES

 (A.) Policy and legislation

(A.1) Policy objectives

Accessibility of ICT products and services includes telecommunications, audio-visual media services, the web and new emerging technologies. ICT accessibility is complemented by assistive technology. Interoperability of the two is required to ensure access by persons with disability to ICT and ICT based services on equal basis with others.

This area is related to EU implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities to which the EU and Member States are a party. It is important to note that under the Convention state parties are obliged to remove accessibility barriers and to adopt and promote design for all approach in the development of standards and guidelines.

The Commission adopted the European disability strategy 2010-202018 with the aim of supporting the implementation of the Convention in the EU. Regulation 1025/2012 states:

“(24) The European standardisation system should also fully take into account the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. It is therefore important that organisations representing the interests of consumers sufficiently represent and include the interests of people with disabilities. In addition, the participation of people with disabilities in the standardisation process should be facilitated by all available means”.

On 14 January 2020 the Commission adopted a Communication on a Strong Social Europe for Just Transitions19, to prepare the way for an action plan to reinforce the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights. In the context of Pillar Principle 17 on the inclusion of persons with disabilities, the Communication recognises that people with disabilities continue to face difficulties in accessing education and training, employment, social protection systems and health care in the Member States. It announces that the Commission will present a strengthened strategy for disability in 2021.

In this specific policy area, the Directive on the accessibility of public sector bodies’ websites and mobile applications is covered by a harmonised standard based on globally agreed web accessibility guidelines. This area also relates to the  Directive on accessibility of products and services, also referred to as the European Accessibility Act. In addition to the possibility to adopt harmonised standards the European Accessibility Act, adopted in 2019, allows for the adoption of technical specifications that would provide presumption of conformity with the accessibility requirements of the Directive.

(A.2) EC perspective and progress report

Standardisation needs arise, for instance from the UN Convention, Article 9 of which requires the development of accessibility standards, and from the general obligations to promote universal design when drafting standards. Work on this area needs to advance at European level, where possible in coordination with related work at international level, and to support harmonised market requirements within Europe.Directive (EU) 2016/2102 on the accessibility of public sector bodies’ websites and mobile application (WAD) includes a presumption of conformity with the accessibility requirements set out in Article 4 for content of websites and mobile applications which meet the relevant harmonised standards. In December 2018, reference to harmonised standard for websites and mobile applications drafted in support of Directive (EU) 2016/2102 was published in the Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2018/2048EN 301 549 V2.1.2 (2018-08) Accessibility requirements for ICT products and services became a harmonised standard and now provides a presumption of conformity to the Directive. The Directive also requires drafting of a methodology for monitoring the conformity of websites and mobile applications with the requirements. This has been realised through the Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2018/1524 of 11 October 2018 establishing a monitoring methodology and the arrangements for reporting by Member States in accordance with the WAD.

On 27 April 2017, the European Commission issued the standardisation request M/554 to the European standardisation organizations in support of Directive (EU) 2016/2102 of the European Parliament and of the Council on the accessibility of the websites and mobile applications of public sector bodies. M/554 requests the development of a Harmonized Standard (hEN) covering the essential requirements included in the Directive on the accessibility of the websites and mobile application of public sector bodies, based on the EN 301 549 V1.1.2 (2015-04). CEN, CENELEC and ETSI accepted this standardisation request in June 2017. As a consequence of this mandate, EN 301 549 has been revised accordingly by the CEN-CENELEC-ETSI Joint Working Group on eAccessibility (with collaboration of W3C) and has been adopted by the ESOs and published at https://www.etsi.org/deliver/etsi_en/301500_301599/301549/02.01.02_60/en_301549v020102p.pdf. Subsequently, following the fitness checks required under the standardisation Regulation, and in line with its obligations under the WAD, the Commission published the references to the new hEN by December 23, 2018. (Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2018/2048).  

A further version of the EN is available (version 3.1.1: https://www.etsi.org/deliver/etsi_en/301500_301599/301549/03.01.01_60/en_301549v030101p.pdf) - see also section C. This version may, however, be an intermediate version only and may not be referenced under the WAD. 

(A.3) References

http://www.un.org/disabilities/convention/conventionfull.shtml or

http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp? navid=14&pid=150

The UN Convention establishes accessibility as one of its general principles, which also applies to ICT and systems, including internet and electronic services; Article 9, on accessibility, requires the State Parties to take the necessary measures to ensure to persons with disabilities have access on an equal basis with others. Under the Convention, this includes measures related to all services open or provided to the public 

(B.) Requested actions

Action 1 SDOs to develop a live consolidated inventory of accessibility standards, improving the information in existing lists such as  http://standards.cen.eu/dyn/www/f?p=204:105:0. without duplicating existing work already financed by the EC or already available.

Action 2 Develop a technical report on potential causes of problems reported by people with speech disorder, and identification of areas where the standard models for predicting speech quality may need to be updated.

Action 3   SDOs to produce a technical report, based on the relevant European projects and empirical and other sources (e.g. including the ETSI proposal for RTT), delivering availability and quality of service parameters addressing the availability and intelligibility of telecommunication topics, as required, perceived and experienced by people with disabilities.

Action 4   SDOs to produce a technical report describing requirements for ICT products and services to be designed to meet the needs of persons with cognitive and learning disabilities; the report should propose enhancements to relevant existing standards and identify needs for further standardisation such as the development of measurable requirements for cognitive accessibility to be included in the standards implementing relevant legislation.

Action 5 SDOs to continue work on the implementation of the methodology developed under M/473, providing that standardisation deliverables including the European standards comply with the  methodology for mainstream accessibility in standardisation processes and the revision of existing standards in line with what it was agreed in the Mandate deliverable 3.1

Action 6: Stimulate further cooperation on web and mobile apps and other relevant areas and related accessibility standardisation based on relevant international initiatives’ work, including the work done by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Ensure consistency with relevant international standardisation work, including that of W3C, when adopted to Europe, in particular on the following topics:

  • additional updates being developed for WCAG 2.2 and 3.0. Some of the new criteria being proposed are specifically for accessibility for persons with cognitive and learning disabilities.
  • early work being done in the W3C personalization task force regarding a personalization specification to enable adaptations of the UI (which could include changes of labelling of UI components to more consistent or understandable language).
  • research and best practices being developed by members of the W3C Cognitive and Learning Disabilities Accessibility Task Force

Action 7 EDF has  produced a report on the principles to be followed by emerging technologies, such as Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, wearables, and virtual and augmented reality, to be accessible for persons with disabilities. The SDOs to follow up the recommendations in the report with special focus also on people with cognitive disabilities. (available at: http://www.edf-feph.org/newsroom/news/edf-launches-report-plug-and-pray).

Action 8 SDOs to consider and propose a possible expansion of the vocabulary and language coverage of EG 203 499 (currently under production) to all official EU/EFTA languages (and possibly, the minority languages used in Europe). EG 203 499 will specify a basic, most frequently used set of user-centred and accessible ICT terminology for existing and upcoming devices, services and applications (currently covering only five languages: English, French, German, Italian and Spanish)

Action 9 SDOs to perform a horizontal action relevant to most key enabler topics (non-exhaustively including Accessibility of ICT, Cloud computing, e-Health and active ageing, e-Privacy, IoT, Electronic invoicing, Trust services and 5G) and mainstream accessibility in the related standardisation work in human factors aspects and technical parameters relevant to the user experience of service information, availability, comprehensability, accuracy and trust including aspects of access and service priorities, quality and availability. Focus should also be given to the needs of people with cognitive disabilities.

Action 10 SDOs to apply and integrate accessibility and usability requirements, activities, practices and measures with distributed, collaborative, agile service development and deployment. This is quickly becoming the main-stream development method used in the ICT world of virtualised network functions and segments, clouds, fogs and virtual and distributed realities and collaborative development practices. Otherwise, there is a considerable risk that these highly technology-focused topics will ignore, or at least not properly and in a timely manner take into consideration, the all-important accessibility and usability requirements for the end user, therewith not exploiting the full potential of important technologies

Action 11  SDOs to develop and maintain a permanent online resource, in the form of an accessible website, in which to provide information on awareness raising, guidance and support to public sector bodies, as well as other interested parties, on the implementation of the harmonised standard relating to the Web Accessibility Directive for websites and mobile applications (Directive (EU) 2016/2102), including the relevant implementing acts. The resource should also provide information on best practice as well as an FAQ containing answers to questions received regarding both legal and technical aspects. Finally a means for exchanging information online could be made available.

(C.) Activities and additional information  

(C.1) Related standardisation activities
M/554

M/554 has been issued in April 2017 and requests the development of a Harmonized Standard (hEN) covering the essential requirements included in the Directive on the accessibility of the websites and mobile application of public sector bodies, based on the EN 301 549 V1.1.2 (2015-04). CEN, CENELEC and ETSI accepted this standardisation request in June 2017. As a consequence of this mandate, EN 301 549 has been revised accordingly by the CEN-CENELEC-ETSI Joint Working Group on eAccessibility (with collaboration of W3C). EN 301549 V2.1.2 and was adopted and published at https://www.etsi.org/deliver/etsi_en/301500_301599/301549/02.01.02_60/en_301549v020102p.pdf. The hEN also refers to the recent W3C standard WCAG 2.1, which include accessibility requirements useful for mobile application accessibility.

The mandate also foresaw a rapid revision of the hEN, in order to take into account the detailed developments of the WCAG and mobile accessibility. EN 301 549 V3.1.1 was adopted in November 2019 and published at https://www.etsi.org/deliver/etsi_en/301500_301599/301549/03.01.01_60/en_301549v030101p.pdf.

M/376

This addressed ICT accessibility standardisation at European level; it takes into consideration relevant national and international standards on accessibility, e.g. those adopted by the US Access Board, W3C WAI and some related ISO work. The resulting EN 301 549 standard and other related deliverables have been published and contains the requirements of WCAG 2.1. The possibility of proposing it as an international standard is under consideration within the JWG on eAccessibility. As this EN is now used as a harmonised standard the possibility to propose it as an international standard needs to be carefully consider to ensure that possible revisions would remain under European responsibility and that the purpose of the hEN will be preserved.

http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/standards_policy/mandates/database/index.cfm?fuseaction=search.detail&id=333#; http://webapp.etsi.org/WorkProgram/Report_WorkItem.asp?WKI_ID=30873

M/473

This is ongoing standardisation work aiming to mainstream accessibility following `design for all’ principles in relevant European standardisation initiatives (other than M/376); in addition the required development of a standard to support manufacturers and service providers including accessibility following design for all, and to facilitate the implementation of the accessibility provisions in European standards, has been successfully completed with the adoption of EN 17161. This EN is relevant for mainstreaming accessibility in the majority of the standardisation work covered by this Rolling Plan.

http://www.etsi.org/images/files/ECMAndates/m473.pdf

M/420

This mandate, while focusing on accessibility of the built environment, also includes ICT that is used in that context. A draft prEN 17210 is under consultation.

http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/standards_policy/mandates/database/index.cfm?fuseaction=refSearch.search#

CEN-CENELEC-ETSI

A further version of the EN has been published by CEN/Cenelec and ETSI in November 2019 responding to other comments raised during the consultations of previous drafts of the EN. The revised EN has been developed to meet the essential requirements included in the Directive on the accessibility of the websites and mobile application of public sector bodies. Currently, further revisions are being planned in response to Mandates expected in 2021 and related to the European Accessibility Act (DIRECTIVE (EU) 2019/882 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 17 April 2019. CEN-CENELEC-ETSI are considering a revision of EN 301 549, that relates to the accessibility of ICT products and services following a potential Mandate related to the EAA expected in 1H2021. 

CEN-CENELEC

CEN-CENELEC/TC 11 is working on the standardisation deliverables in relation with M/420, which will include the following standards:

  • Accessibility and usability of the built environment - Functional requirements (EN)
  • Accessibility and usability of the built environment - Technical performance criteria and specifications (TR)

A Technical Report on the conformity assessment for the accessibility and usability of the built environment will also be developed. A draft prEN 17210 is under consultation

BSI

BS 8878:2010 is the first British standard to outline a framework for web accessibility when designing or commissioning web products.

http://www.ihs.com/products/industry-standards/organisations/bsi/index.aspx

ISO/IEC JTC1

The work ISO/IEC JTC1 SWG-A was doing (TR 29138-2) was passed to JTC1 SC35.

A framework for personalization and adaptation of user interfaces at runtime, based on the context of use (consisting of a user’s needs and preferences, their envisioned tasks, their equipment, and environmental parameters of interaction). The framework is based on the well-known REST protocol, and JSON and XML formats. A registry-based approach is employed for the definition of terms describing a user’s personal preferences and needs.

Currently, the following standards are being developed as part of this framework:

  • ISO/IEC 24571-1 Information Technology – Individualised adaptability and accessibility in e-learning, education and training – Part 1: Framework and reference model 
  • ISO/IEC DIS 24752-8 Information technology -- User interfaces -- Universal remote console Part 8: User interface resource framework
CEN

CEN formed a Strategic Advisory Group on Accessibility (SAGA) to consider how to address accessibility throughout the standardisation process; this group includes representatives of national standards bodies, CENELEC and ETSI, and organisations representing persons with disabilities and older people.

http://www.cencenelec.eu/standards/Sectors/Accessibility/Pages/default.aspx  

ETSI

ETSI continues to produce accessibility standards on specific ICT topics and is planning to produce a guide to user-centred terminology for existing and upcoming devices and services; also an update to real-time text functionality in ICT devices is planned; initial early investigations are being made into transmission quality and its possible link to reported intelligibility problems for some hearing-impaired people; see also EG 202 952, a set of guidelines to identify “Design for All” aspects in ETSI deliverables.

ETSI has initiated a programme to develop methods for objective assessment of Listening effort, in particular for speech in the presence of background noise. The results are available in TS 103 558”. STF 575 (closed) produced results of subjective tests and of objective model at the acoustical interface. Current STF 590 is dedicated to the electrical interface and will provide results of subjective tests for different types of terminals and several network impairments.

This database, built with normal hearing people, gives a reference to develop further studies dedicated to hearing impaired people. As there are a lot of different hearing impairments, it will be needed to define typical types of hearing impairments and reference signal amplifications (level and frequency enhancement) in order to compute loudness and listening effort, in association with subjective tests.”

http://www.etsi.org/technologies-clusters/technologies/human-factors/accessibility;

http://webapp.etsi.org/WorkProgram/Report_WorkItem.asp?WKI_ID=35174;

http://webapp.etsi.org/WorkProgram/Report_WorkItem.asp?WKI_ID=37153;

http://webapp.etsi.org/WorkProgram/Report_WorkItem.asp?WKI_ID=35796

https://portal.etsi.org/webapp/WorkProgram/Report_WorkItem.asp?WKI_ID=58838

IEC

IEC TC 100/TA 16 is producing international publications addressing aspects of active assisted living (AAL), including issues related to accessibility, usability and specific user interfaces related to audio, video and multimedia systems and equipment within the scope of TC 100.

http://www.iec.ch/dyn/www/f?p=103:7:0::::FSP_ORG_ID,FSP_LANG_ID:11009,25

IEEE

IEEE has standards and pre-standards activities that support greater accessibility of ICT products and services, including making certain diagnostic tools more available to underserved communities (https://standards.ieee.org/project/2650.html), measuring the accessibility user experience (https://standards.ieee.org/project/2843.html), and ethical and inclusion considerations (Digital Inclusion, Identity, Trust, and Agency (DIITA):  https://standards.ieee.org/industry-connections/diita/index.html)

https://ieeesa.io/rp-accessibility

IETF

Relevant work may be found in the ART area. For instance RFC 3551 identifies the requirements for SIP to support the hearing impaired and RFC4103 defines the RTP payload for text conversation.

RFCs 4103 and 5194 are being referenced in various accessibility regulations being proposed in the US (Section 255/508) and EU (e.g. M376).

https://trac.ietf.org/trac/iab/wiki/Multi-Stake-Holder-Platform#ICTAccess

ISO

ISO/IEC Guide 71, Guidelines for standards developers to address the needs of older persons and persons with disabilities was published in 2014 and adopted by CEN and  CENELEC as CEN/ CENELEC guide 6:2014. ITU also adopted it as H-Series Supplement 17.

JTC1 SWG-A (special working group on accessibility) has been disbanded. Work has been transferred to ISO/IEC/JTC1 SC35 (User Interfaces). https://www.iso.org/standard/57385.html

ITU

ITU-T has produced relevant work on accessibility and human factors, a sample of which is found in the ITU Accessibility Portal.

https://itu.int/en/ITU-T/accessibility

Within ITU-T SG16, related technical groups include Question 26/16 on accessibility and Question 24/16 on human factors, which include various experts with disabilities and cooperate with advocacy organizations (such as the G3ict, WFD and RNIB), in addition to other technical groups such as ITU-T, D, R Study Groups and ISO/IEC JTC1 SC35.

More info on Q26/16: https://itu.int/itu-t/workprog/wp_search.aspx?Q=26/16

More info on Q24/16: https://itu.int/itu-t/workprog/wp_search.aspx?Q=24/16

Recommendation ITU-T F.790 on accessibility guidelines for older persons and persons with disabilities is complemented by ITU H-series Supplement 17 (2014), which mirrors the new edition of ISO/IEC Guide 71 containing guidelines for standards developers to address the needs of older persons and persons with disabilities.

More info on ITU-T F.790: https://itu.int/rec/T-REC-F.790

More info on ITU H-series Supplement. https://itu.int/rec/T-REC-H.Sup17

ITU-T F.791 contains recommended terminology for accessibility for use in the international context and assists in defining context for procurement activities of accessible systems and services: https://itu.int/rec/T-REC-F.791

The checklist in ITU-T FSTP-TACL describes  how to prepare ICT standards that include accessibility from their inception. Two other ITU-T technical papers describe arrangements for accessible meetings and for accessible remote participation in meetings (FSTP-AM — Guidelines for accessible meetings; and FSTP-ACC-RemPart — Guidelines for supporting remote participation in meetings for all) that aim at increasing the participation of persons with disabilities at real and virtual meetings. ITU-T technical papers on accessibility: https://itu.int/pub/T-TUT-FSTP

ITU-T F.921 (08/2018) “Audio-based network navigation system for persons with vision impairment” explains how to accommodate the users’ experience of inclusive audio-based network navigation systems and ensure their interoperability: https://itu.int/rec/T-REC-F.921.

ITU-T F.930 (03/2018) “Multimedia telecommunication relay services”, which provides a functional description of four common types of relay services in use today: text relay, video relay, captioned telephone service relay and speech-to-speech relay. Telecommunications relay services enable persons who have hearing or speech disabilities and who otherwise would be unable to engage in voice telecommunications, to make voice telephone calls to other persons: https://www.itu.int/rec/T-REC-F.930

Recent completed work includes ITU-T H.871 (07/2019) “Safe listening guidelines for personal sound amplifiers (PSAs)” which provides characteristics of PSAs and suggests ways of informing consumers about the potential unacceptable noise levels when using these devices for prolonged periods of time: https://www.itu.int/rec/T-REC-H.871

More info on SG16: https://itu.int/go/tsg16

ITU-T SG20 “Internet of things (IoT) and smart cities and communities (SC&C)” also recently achieved ITU-T Y.4204 “Accessibility requirements for IoT applications and services”: https://www.itu.int/rec/T-REC-Y.4204-201902-I/en. It is currently working on “Accessibility requirements for smart public transportation services” (Y.ACC-PTS).

More info: https://itu.int/go/tsg20

ITU-R SG6 is responsible for Accessibility systems for broadcasting and the latest umbrella document is Report ITU-R BT 2207-4 “Accessibility to broadcasting services for persons with disabilities”: https://www.itu.int/pub/R-REP-BT.2207-4-2018

ITU-D SG1 Question 7 on “Access to telecommunication/ICT services by persons with disabilities and other persons with specific needs”” also works on providing access to telecommunication/ICT services by persons with disabilities and other persons with specific needs.

There are coordination mechanisms within ITU sectors as well as with organizations outside ITU in terms of accessibility activities:

  • Intersector Rapporteur Group Audiovisual Media Accessibility (IRG-AVA) for joint work between ITU-T and ITU-R on audiovisual media accessibility: https://www.itu.int/en/irg/ava
  • Joint Coordination Activity on Accessibility and Human Factors (JCA-AHF) for coordination and awareness raising on accessibility and human factors in standardisation in ITU each sectors and groups outside ITU: https://www.itu.int/en/ITU-T/jca/ahf
W3C
  • W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) - accessibility of content, including text, images, audio, video, coding and markup, forms, and other types of media https://www.w3.org/WAI/intro/wcag
  • W3C Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG) - accessibility of code editors, content management systems (CMS), and other software used to create web content https://www.w3.org/WAI/intro/atag
  • W3C User Agent Accessibility Guidelines (UAAG) - accessibility of web browsers, media players, and some types of assistive technologies and mobile applications https://www.w3.org/WAI/intro/uaag
  • W3C Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA) - accessibility of dynamic content and applications https://www.w3.org/WAI/intro/aria

Both WCAG 2.0 and WCAG 2.1 continue to co-exist as operational W3C standards. To support harmonization and interoperability, WCAG can also be obtained as:

  • ISO/IEC 40500:2012 - currently the same as WCAG 2.0 (update to WCAG 2.1 is being explored by W3C);
  • EN 301 549 includes all WCAG 2.1 Success Criteria and Conformance Requirements (fully harmonized). It also applies WCAG 2.1 requirements to Non-Web Software (eg. mobile applications) and Non-Web Documents (e.g. electronic files).

W3C is currently working on WCAG 2.2 as well as a third generation of the guidelines (commonly referred to with project name “Silver”). Specific focus continues to be on areas including mobile, cognitive, and low-vision accessibility, personalisation, pronunciation, and conformance testing – see https:/www.w3.org/WAI

W3C also provides non-normative technical guidance, such as Techniques for WCAG 2 and Understanding WCAG 2, and WCAG Evaluation Methodology (WCAG-EM)

Other activities related to standardisation

Aaliance2

Next Generation European Ambient Assisted Living Innovation; FP7 repository of existing standards http://www.aaliance2.eu/               

WAI ACT

A cooperation framework for guidance on advanced technologies, evaluation methodologies, and research agenda setting to support eAccessibility http://www.w3.org/WAI/ACT/          

WAI-Coop

Develops a model to support implementation of the international standards for digital accessibility, including the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and the EN 301 549. Project to start in January 2021. https://www.w3.org/WAI/about/projects/wai-coop/

WAI DEV

Developing strategies to support mainstream production of inclusive components and services and showcasing good practice in inclusive design http://www.w3.org/WAI/DEV/               

WAI-Tools          

Develops W3C Accessibility Conformance Testing (ACT) Rules to facilitate harmonized accessibility testing across EU Member States and internationally, and develops demonstrator monitoring in Portugal and Norway as examples for other EU Member States https://www.w3.org/WAI/about/projects/wai-tools/

WAI-Guide         

Develops open curricula on web accessibility to help organizations across EU Member States and internationally to develop their own courses, promotes accessibility of authoring tools with focus on specific industries, and develops accessibility use cases for emerging technologies https://www.w3.org/WAI/about/projects/wai-guide/

Easy Reading     

Researches user needs for cognitive and learning disabilities and develops tooling using personalization techniques in close cooperation with end-users, and exchanges research findings with W3C standardisation on cognitive accessibility and personalization

EIII

European Inclusion Internet Initiative: partners among others including Dutch, Danish, Italian and Iceland governments. The initiative was completed in December 2015

Prosperity4All

Develops the infrastructure and ecosystem that will allow for a ubiquitous auto-personalisation of interfaces and materials, based on user needs and preferences, to grow; it builds on the infrastructure provided by Cloud4All in order to create more parts of the GPII http://www.prosperity4all.eu; http://www.cloud4all.info/; http://gpii.net/

Raising the Floor Consortium

Mission is to make the web and mobile technologies accessible to everyone with disability, literacy and ageing-related barriers, regardless of their economic status http://raisingthefloor.org             

SMART 2014 /0061

Monitoring methodologies for web accessibility in the European Union. The objective of the study is to collect information on the monitoring methodologies for verification of compliance with web accessibility requirements in the different Member States www.monitor-wa.eu   

EDF’s “Plug and Pray”    

A disability perspective on artificial intelligence, automated decision-making and emerging technologies” report looks at the impact of emerging technologies on the lives of persons with disabilities. It also provides recommendations to industry, policy makers, organisations of persons with disabilities and academia on how to best ensure that the gains of emerging technologies are equally distributed and potential risks avoided/minimised. http://www.edf-feph.org/newsroom/news/edf-launches-report-plug-and-pray

We4Authors Project      

We4authors is the acronym of “Pilot on web accessibility for web authoring tools producers and communities”, a European Pilot Project led by Funka.

It consists of a set of focused initiatives with the most relevant and used licensed and open source CMS in public sector in Europe, that fosters and facilitates the incorporation of accessibility features as the default option in authoring tools. https://www.funka.com/en/projekt/we4authors/what-is-we4authors/

(C.2) additional information

Accessibility needs to be ensured in ICT and many other areas (such as emergency communication, digital cinema, e-health, ICT used in public transport, ICT used in tourism, and e-learning, Internet of Things, emerging technologies/artificial intelligence, e-identification and e-governance systems, e-call, e-procurement, e-invoicing, e-payments, smart cities, European electronic toll service, intelligent transport/automated vehicles, advanced manufacturing, robotics, audiovisual media and telecommunications, etc.) both for users with disabilities in the general public and for staff/entrepreneurs with disabilities in industry or public administration.

The following list has been compiled from views expressed by some Member States and experts in the field. The list is intended to trigger further discussion with all stakeholders on possible future actions:

  • Investigating how mobile devices are useful to people with dexterity problems and reduced mobility and other type of disability when interacting with other ICT products and services; widening the scope (i.e. beyond mobile devices) of guidelines related to diminished motor control e.g. people with advanced Parkinson or similar disorders who can hardly or no longer write is also needed
  • Applying standardisation of broadcasters accessible interfaces to IP (and other) systems.
  • Convergence and interoperability of video relay services. 
  • Accessible hybrid TV services.
  • Specification of requests for translation among languages, image and text representations, particularly those overcoming accessibility issues, e.g voice to text like automation of relay services for telephony and capturing/ subtitling TV transmissions for hearing-impaired people.
  • Interoperability of the most common text transmission techniques like IM — SMS- and email for hearing impaired people.
  • Text to voice, like automatically generated audio description for blind citizens.
  • Text to sign language, like automatically generated sign language for deaf and hearing-impaired people.
  • Identification of accessibility issues, requirements and associated standardisation needs related to:
  • non-literate and dyslexic users; these requirements may turn out to be equally applicable for foreign users unable to understand available user interface languages.
  • security and privacy features of ICT services and devices (see below and sections security and ePrivacy) .

Users have to use increasingly complex security procedures to access the services that they rely on. Attempts to increase security frequently include mechanisms that many users, particularly those with physical and cognitive disabilities, are unable to successfully handle without adopting highly insecure strategies such as writing down complex usernames and passwords. There is a need to provide standards and guidance on accessible security mechanisms that are compatible with human abilities, and appropriate to the type of service being used. In this context, the benefit of using of new technologies like biometrics or RFID could be evaluated.

This accessibility component of privacy and security issues could be addressed in general development following M/473 or, preferably, be mainstreamed in general privacy and security work.  

Standards could be evaluated to produce a guide to user-centred terminology for all potential users in several EU languages, focusing on the benefits for those with learning and cognitive disabilities. The preponderance of different names for the same ICT features and functions is confusing for all people, but this can be a significantly more important problem for older users or users with learning and cognitive disabilities. This has a negative impact on individual citizens and on the size of the ICT market. A guide would provide benefits for all potential users, particularly older users and users with learning and cognitive impairments who are currently partly excluded from benefiting from the use of modern ICT.

18 http://ec.europa.eu/justice/discrimination/disabilities/disability-strategy/index_en.htm

19 https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/fs_20_49