Edited by Axel Leblois, Executive Director, G3ict
The European Commission initiated two studies on "Accessibility to ICT products and services by disabled and elderly people" from February to October 2008. The study team has issued two main reports:
- “Evidence-based analysis for a possible coordinated European approach to web accessibility” (MS Word). This report analyses the evidence based of relevance to a possible introduction of EU-level measures on web accessibility and explores some implementation options. It also examines the various dimensions of the web accessibility challenge, including issues from the perspectives of users, web owners, support industries, Member States and the European Union as a whole. Then it presents the rationale for and possible elements of a co-ordinated European approach to web accessibility.
- “Towards a framework for further development of EU legislation or other coordination measures on e-accessibility” (MS Word). This report examines what legislative or other options could be considered at EU-level in order to better support the achievement of a more effective, coordinated and complete approach to e-accessibility across the Member States.
Collaborative International Research Centre for Universal Access (CIRCUA) is dedicated to fundamental research and practical problem solving in universal access, including design for all, accessibility, adaptable systems, adaptive systems, social and cultural factors and cognitive user modeling. Membership includes Middlesex University members ("UK members") and members in other locations ("International Members"). There are no fees for membership and CIRCUA operates as an international community of expertise. CIRCUA is planning to submit one or more projects for the FP6 e-inclusion call of the EU, particularly in the areas including cognitive impairments.
The EU Web Accessibility Benchmarking Cluster, Evaluation and benchmarking of Accessibility. The Unified Web Evaluation Methodology (UWEM1.2) is the result of a joint harmonization effort by 23 European organizations in three European projects combined in a cluster called the WAB Cluster. They have developed UWEM to ensure that large scale monitoring and local evaluation are compatible and coherent among themselves and with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines from W3C/WAI.
ÆGIS project seeks to determine whether 3rd generation access techniques will provide a more accessible, more exploitable and deeply embeddable approach in mainstream ICT (desktop, rich Internet and mobile applications). This approach is developed and explored with the Open Accessibility Framework (OAF) through which aspects of the design, development and deployment of accessible mainstream ICT are addressed.
ACCESSIBLE contributes to better accessibility for all citizens, to increase the use of standards, and to develop an assessment simulation environment (including a suite of accessibility analyzing tools as well as developer-aid tools) to assess efficiently, easily and rapidly the accessibility and viability of software applications for all user groups.
IDCnet is a consortium of academic institutions developing an inclusive design curriculum network. See also Design for All at www.dfaei.org/index.html, with a number of participating European institutions.
ASK-IT is an integrated project, partly funded by the European Commission under the 6th Framework Program, e-Inclusion. The driving vision behind the project is to create a service using ICTs to help improve the everyday lives and independence of mobility-challenged individuals in European cities. The service connects to the individual through a mobile device such as a cell phone or PDA, providing them with access to relevant and real-time information – primarily for traveling, but also for transportation, leisure activities, local services, and other everyday necessities that are wheelchair accessible. Furthermore, the device keeps a personal profile on the user, noting his or her preferences and requirements. Everything from preferred mode of transportation to wheelchair turning radius is stored. The ASK-IT system caters to all the needs and conditions of the user and has the ability communicate information in all European languages in written format, spoken format (for visually impaired individuals) and graphic format (for illiterate individuals).
The system is currently being tested in eight different European cities and has thus far yielded exceptional results. The intelligence of the system is second-to-none in helping persons with disabilities find accessible resources and facilities while traveling. The organization currently has links to more than 360,000 individuals with disabilities and is active partners with a number of federations and social organizations that seek to ensure a better quality of life for all.
Other European Commission funded projects can be found at: http://ec.europa.eu/index_en.htm.