The rapid pace of development towards e-government has created new digital divides, such as the ability to use online services in terms of basic web accessibility. Web accessibility, and indeed accessibility to ICT tools in general, is important for countries, organisations and individuals to be able to achieve the new 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals. Without easily accessible and usable, as well as affordable and high quality access, one of the major development tools will be denied to millions of people.
In particular, people with disabilities, such as sight impairment, depend on properly designed websites in order for screen readers to read the content to them in a way that can be understood. However, only 10% of Europe’s government websites are fully accessible, according to a study carried out for the European Commission (EC). Against this background, the EC has proposed a new directive to assure accessibility of public sector bodies' websites in order to monitor progress and to find good practices regarding automated tools.
This workshop will build on a session organized for WSIS 2015, which provided an overview of the EIII project. Now, however, the international consortium is able to provide the open source tools and the results from automated testing based on 1,065 European public sector websites.
In addition, the session will discuss the role of tool support in public policies and highlight the demonstrated possibilities of combining automated tests with a user testing tool, which has also been developed by the EIII with the potential to eventually cover all web accessibility tests, to the benefit of governments and users alike. In fact, the EIII web accessibility checker is now referred to by the United Nations for checking their websites (see http://www.un.org/webaccessibility/validation.asp). It will also highlight the MAUVE tool, which can validate a set of guidelines on websites - including dynamic ones - and that can be extended with limited effort; available at http://hiis.isti.cnr.it:8080/MauveWeb/
NB: The initial automated benchmarking results, which cover about 20% of all web accessibility tests, can be found here: