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, digital services and platforms, the web and new emerging technologies. ICT accessibility is complemented byassistive 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.Due to rapid digitalisation of all aspects of life due to European Union’s digital agenda and COVID-19, accessibility of e-education, teleworking, e-governance, e-health and other digital aspects of private and public services is essential for persons with disabilities to participate in society at equal level with other citizens.

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 theDirective 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.Relevant EU policies also include the European Electronic Communication Code (EECC), Audiovisual Media Services Directive, EU Digital Education Action Plan, as well as future EU policies on Digital Services (DSA, DMA), and Artificial Intelligence (AI Regulation).

The above mentioned policies are in support of theEU 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 a design for all approach in the development of standards and guidelines(Article 9 - accessibility).

On 14 January 2020 the Commission adopted aCommunication on a Strong Social Europe for Just Transitions, 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.

In March 2021, the Commission adoptedStrategy for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2021-2030, an aim of which is to support the implementation of the UN Convention within the EU.

The Strategy recognizes the “limited accessibility of ICT tools necessary for teleconferencing, telework arrangements, distance learning, online shopping, and access to COVID-19 related information”(p.5). To solve some of the accessibility gaps, the Strategy has proposed several measures for the coming years, including:

  • the foundation of a European resource centre called AccessibleEU to increase coherence in accessibility policies and facilitate access to relevant knowledge;
  • providing guidance to Member States to support the implementation of the accessibility obligations under the public procurement Directives, and promote training for public procurers to buy accessible
  • ensuring accessibility and inclusiveness in the reinforced EU digital government strategy, focusing on human-centric and user-friendly digital public services across Europe that respond to the needs and preferences of European citizens, including the needs of persons with disabilities
  • evaluating the effectiveness of the Web Accessibility Directive (p.8).

The Strategy also highlights the importance and aims of ensuring accessible digital education, healthcare, art, culture, recreation, leisure, sport, and tourism; ensuring accessible EU policy-making for all citizens; and continuous removal and prevention of barriers by all services for staff and public with disabilities (e.g. accessible ICT equipment and tools for online meetings) of EU institutions.

Regulation 1025/2012 on European standardisation 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”.

(A.2) EC perspectiveand 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 possiblein coordination with related work at international level, and to support harmonised market requirements within Europe.

In October 2016, Directive (EU) 2016/2102 on the accessibility of public sector bodies’ websites and mobile application was published in the Official Journal. This directive, also referred to as the Web Accessibility Directive (WAD), includes a presumption of conformitywith the accessibility requirements set out in Article 4 for content ofwebsites and mobile applications which meet the relevant harmonised standards.At the time of publication, this presumption of conformity was provided by the relevant clauses of the European standard EN 301 549 v1.1.2 (2015-04). This standard was the result of the policy Mandate 376.

In April 2017, the European Commission issuedstandardisation request M/554 to the European standardisation organizations, CEN, CENELEC and ETSI. The purpose of this request was to develop an appropriate harmonised European standard (hEN), based on the standard EN 301 549 V1.1.2 (2015-04), covering the essential requirements included in the WAD. This standardisation request was accepted in June 2017, with the creation of the CEN-CENELEC-ETSI Joint Working Group on eAccessibility (including collaboration of the W3C). The working group revised EN 301 549accordingly, leading to EN 301 549 V2.1.2 (2018-08) being adopted and published by the ESOs .

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 this new European standard on December 20, 2018in theCommission Implementing Decision (EU) 2018/2048.

The standard EN 301 549 V2.1.2 (2018-08)on the “Accessibility requirements for ICT products and services” thus 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, as well as a model accessibility statement to be used by public sector bodies to provide in a comprehensive and clear manner, details on the compliance of their websites and mobile applications with the Directive. This has been realised, respectively, through theCommission Implementing Decision (EU) 2018/1524 of 11 October 2018establishing a monitoring methodology and the arrangements for reporting by Member States in accordance with the WAD and the Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2018/1523 of 11 October 2018 establishing a model accessibility statement in accordance with Directive (EU) 2016/2102.

The first draft of the Standardisation Request to support the implementation of the Directive (EU) 2019/882 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 April 2019 on the accessibility requirements for products and services, also referred to as the European Accessibility Act (EAA) asks for a new revision of EN 301 549.

In March 2021 a new version of the standard was published:EN 301 549 V3.2.1 (2021-03). This version was submitted to the Commission for referencing in the Official Journal. According to Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2021/1339 of 11 August 2021 amending Implementing Decision (EU) 2018/2048 as regards the harmonised standard for websites and mobile applications, EN 301 549 V3.2.1 (2021-03) is the new harmonised standard conferring a presumption of conformity with the corresponding essential requirements of the Web Accessibility Directive (WAD).

In April 2019, Directive (EU) 2019/882 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 April 2019 on the accessibility requirements for products and services, also known as the European Accessibility Act (EAA) was adopted by the European Union. The Act is subject to national transposition by Member States by June 2022.A draft Standardisation Request to the ESOs is under discussion and targetted to be finalised by the end of 2021.

In the meantime, in June 2021, as required by Article 15 (presumption of conformity), the European Commission has in accordance with Article 10 of Regulation (EU) No 1025/2012, submitted a first draft request to the European standardisation organisations to draft harmonised standards for the product accessibility requirements set out in Annex I of the Act.

Namely, the Commission has requested

-the development of:

  • Harmonised standard(s) setting up requirements on the accessibility of non ICT information related to products
  • Harmonized standard for the accessibility of support services related to products and services (help desks, call centres, technical support, relay services and training services)
  • Harmonized standard for the accessibility of emergency communications and for the answering of emergency communications by the PSAPs (including to the single European Emergency number 112)

- the revision of:

EN 301 549 Accessibility requirements for ICT products and services

EN 17161:2019 Design for All - Accessibility following a Design for All approach in products, goods and services - Extending the range of users

EN 17210Accessibility and usability of the built environment - Functional requirements

(A.3) References

(B.) Requested actions

Action 1 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.Special focus should be on ICT products and services that are based on emerging technologies, such as natural language processing, wearables, virtual and augmented reality, as well as biometrics and enhanced ICT security that should be designed to meet the needs of persons with cognitive and learning disabilities.

Action 2 SDOs to continue work on the implementation of the methodology developed under M/473, providing that new standardisation deliverablesincluding the European standards comply with themethodology for mainstream accessibility in standardisation processes and the revision of existing standards in line with what it wasagreed in the Mandate deliverable 3.1

(C.) Activities and additional information

M/554

M/554 has been issued in April 2017 and requests the development of a HarmonizedStandard(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 athttps://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 arevision of the hENbeyond web and mobile accessibility requirementswhich led to the publication of EN 301 549 V3.1.1in November 2019, andpublished with some corrections in March 2021. EN 301 549 V3.2.1 is available athttps://www.etsi.org/deliver/etsi_en/301500_301599/301549/03.02.01_60/en_301549v030201p.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.This standard will be revised under the standardisation request for the European Accessibility Act.

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 standardisation work aiming to mainstream accessibility following `design for all’principles in relevant European standardisation initiatives (other than M/376); in additionthe requireddevelopment 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 formainstreaming accessibility inthe majority of the standardisation work covered by this Rolling Plan.This EN will be revised under the standardisation request for the European Accessibility Act.

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.TheEN 17210has been published in 2021. This EN will be revised under the standardisation request of the European Accessibility Act.

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

in preparation Standardisation Request addressing requirements of the EAA

(C.1) Related standardisation activities
CEN-CENELEC-ETSI

A further version of the EN has been published by CEN, CENELEC and ETSI in March 2021 solving some errors detected in the previous edition and improving its usability. This new edition, EN 301 549 V3.2.1 (2021-03) (EN 301549:2021) was 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 the standardisation request to the European standardisation organizations as regards the accessibility requirements of products and services in support of Directive (EU) 2019/882 of the European Parliament and of the Council. The 1stdraft of this Standardisation Request, launched in June 2021, asks for a revision of EN 301 549 to describe the technical solutions for accessibility to ensure conformity with the accessibility requirements of the EAA, as well as to cover the accessibility specifications to be followed when designing, constructing, maintaining and updating websites and mobile applications according to the Web Accessibility Directive.

CEN-CENELEC

CEN-CENELEC/TC 11recently published the standardisation deliverablesin relation withM/420, which include the following deliverables:

EN 17210:2021 Accessibility and usability of the built environment - Functional requirements

CEN/TR 17621:2021 Accessibility and usability of the built environment - Technical performance criteria and specifications

CEN/TR 17622:2021 Accessibility and usability of the built environment - Conformity assessment”

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.

Published standards:

ISO/IEC JTC 1 SC36

ISO/IEC 24571-1 Information Technology – Individualised adaptability and accessibility in e-learning, education and training – Part 1: Framework and reference model

ISO/IEC JTC 1 SC 35

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 addressaccessibility throughout the standardisation process; this group includesrepresentatives of national standards bodies, CENELEC and ETSI, andorganisations representingpersons with disabilities and older people.

DIN

DIN is preparing a national standard DIN 13278 “Smart mobility for people with reduced mobility”. The idea is that people with disabilities can communicate in public spaces, e.g. with public transport or traffic lights. It is planned to submit the finished document as a national project proposal at European level.

ETSI

ETSI continuesto produce accessibility standards on specific ICT topics.The effort will focus on standardisation related to the EAA. Revisions of the EN 301549 and a range of other relevant standards and reference documents will be central, along with a series of plugtests to ensure interoperability and quality of total conversation, exploring and defining the concept of reference terminal from EN 301549; a guide to user-centred terminology for existing and upcoming devices and services is underway as well as work on recommendations for development of ICT to meet the needs of people with cognitive disabilities; initial early investigations are being made into transmission qualityand its possible link to reported intelligibility problems for some hearing-impaired people; see also EG202952,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 toaccessibility, 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), for building accessible applications (https://standards.ieee.org/project/2998.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#ICTAcce…

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

ISO/TC 59/SC 16 has approved ISO 21542:2021, Building construction — Accessibility and usability of the built environment. This documents withdraws ISO 21542:2011, which was the main base for the drafting of EN 17210.

ISO/TC 59/SC 16 is working on ISO/NP 5727, Accessibility and usability of the built environment — Accessibility of immovable culturalheritage — General criteria and methodology for interventions.

ITU

ITU-T and ITU-R have produced relevant work on accessibility and human factors. Relevant information is found in the ITU Accessibility Portal:

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

Additionally, more details on the Radiocommunication Sector contribution to Bridging the Digital Disabilities Divide can be found at:https://www.itu.int/en/ITU-R/information/Pages/disabilities-divide.aspx

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

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)

(C.2) 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

Supportingimplementation of theEU web accessibility directive andinternational standards for digital accessibility, including the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and the EN 301 549. Projectin 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

EDF

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.https://www.edf-feph.org/publications/plug-and-pray-2018/

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.3) 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.

For this purpose, accessibility priorities raised in this chapter (3.1.10 Accessibility of ICT products and services) should be mainstreamed in relevant chapters of the Rolling Plan 2022.

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 accessibility features in standards for e-voting.
  • Investigating harmonisation of quality standard for access services in audiovisual media services (subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing, spoken subtitles, audio description and sign language interpretation).
  • 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.

Text to voice, like automatically generated audio description for blind citizens.

Text to sign language, like automatically generated sign language**for deaf and hard of hearingpeople.

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 addressedin 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.

*mentionedfuture actions should be done in close cooperation with users and organisations representing users relevant accessibility measures are aiming to address.

** So long as quality of automatically generated sign language interpretation remains lower than quality of trained human interpreters, these are not preferred measure of ensuring accessibility for deaf and and other sign language users.https://2tdzpf2t7hxmggqhq3njno1y-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/WFD-and-WASLI-Statement-on-Avatar-FINAL-14032018-Updated-14042018-1.pdf