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Developing a Global Digital Accessibility Policy: What’s Going On Around the World?


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A case study on digital accessibility policy and legislation in 5 selected countries, and implications on accessibility policy-making by globally active organisations. Presented at A11yBos 2014 on 10 May, based on a paper given at W4A2014

Published in: Internet, Design, Technology
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Developing a Global Digital Accessibility Policy: What’s Going On Around the World?

  1. 1. Developing a Global Digital Accessibility Policy: What’s Going On Around the World? David Sloan @sloandr Sarah Horton @gradualclearing
  2. 2. What we plan to do • Present a case study looking at the findability and nature of global digital accessibility policy and legislation • Consider implications for organizations working globally • More details in our blog post on global policy
  3. 3. What we ask you to do • Contribute your own experiences • Ask us questions • Share the session
  4. 4. A global view of accessibility Image credit: Wikipedia
  5. 5. Accessibility policy challenges for large organizations • Different types of digital product and service – Growth by acquisition • Different processes • Scattered expertise and awareness of accessibility • Different territories, different local/market requirements
  6. 6. Relevant Global Policies
  7. 7. UN CRPD • The UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (UN CRPD, 2008) • Coverage includes: – Focus on universal design – Accessibility of public information, communication systems and mass- media – Rights to access to digital educational content – Rights to access culturally significant digital content • Digital progress monitored annually by G3ict
  8. 8. Marrakesh Treaty • The Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired or Otherwise Print Disabled (2013) – Provides for exceptions to copyright legislation to allow people with print disabilities to receive accessible versions of copyrighted content
  9. 9. A sample of digital accessibility legislation and policy Image credit: Wikipedia
  10. 10. Territories covered • Four economically significant territories: Brazil, China, India, South Africa • Australia selected as a baseline of a mature legislative environment for digital accessibility
  11. 11. Approach • Opportunistic research strategy • We looked at: – Ratification of UN CRPD and Marrakesh Treaty – Existence, availability and nature of legislation, and policy relating to digital accessibility
  12. 12. Findings • All territories have ratified the UN CRPD • But status and evolution of disability rights legislation and supporting documentation is inconsistent • Digital accessibility advocacy and outreach efforts in all territories – evidence particularly in Brazil and India
  13. 13. National web accessibility standards Standard Scope Notes AUS WCAG 2 AA Govt and non-gov Specified in DDA guidance from Human Rights Commission BRA eMAG 3.0 Gov (similar to WCAG 2 AA, but with some differences) CHN None found – but some do exist ? Reference WCAG 2 IND Guidelines for Indian Government Web sites Gov Accessibility requirements equivalent to WCAG 2 A. India also has a National Policy on Electronic Accessibility (2013) RSA None found n/a
  14. 14. Copyright and accessibility • Australia, Brazil, China and India have signed the Marrakesh Treaty – no ratification yet • All territories have copyright legislation – Brazil and India have some provisions for the rights of people with disabilities to receive accessible versions
  15. 15. Some things for organizations to consider • Slow convergence in nature of national policies, much vagueness still exists in disability equality legislation • Diverse definitions of and attitude to disability • But potential trend towards focus on print disability
  16. 16. Some things for organizations to consider • Prominence of WCAG 2 (and absence of other WAI guidelines…) • Dominance of HTML as output format • Some caution over relying on PDF as digital content format
  17. 17. Some things for organizations to consider • The need for capacity (legal and technical) to monitor global trends and events in legislation and standards • Recognize and incorporate accessibility as a part of internationalization and localization efforts
  18. 18. Acknowledgements • We thank Pearson Global for their support in funding this research study.