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Accessibility Wake-up Call from Sharm El Sheikh for e-Gov Web Sites
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Peter Major, "A Survey of Accessibility Errors on Homepages of Official Government Web Sites" The survey is the starting point to raise awareness in enforcing recommendations to create accessible websites. The presentation is posted on the ITU website: http://www.itu.int/dms_pub/itu-t/oth/06/2B/T062B0000010005PPTE.ppt
The UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities has been ratified by more than 70 countries and signed by 143 countries. To check compliance with certain parts of the Convention, accessibility errors on the homepages of official government web sites have been examined. Tests of web pages of 136 signatory countries have been conducted with respect to Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 (W3C Recommendation) using WAVE and Cynthiasays on-line web accessibility test tools. Statistics of errors have been compiled based on the output of the on-line tests. The results of the survey, distribution of errors worldwide and by continents, are shown in this presentation. Analysis of the typical errors is given. It has been concluded majority of home pages of official websites are hardly accessible for visually impaired persons. The distribution by continent is uneven, but there is room for improvement globally. It is highly recommended that designers, analysts and persons responsible for the official websites revisit the pages and revise them to comply with at least WCAG 1.0.
The survey results were presented by the author at the 4th Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt on November 2009.
Peter Major is the executive director of Cybespace Consulting in Geneva, Switzerland. Until his retirement at the end of 2008 he was the head of Space Administrative Software Division of the Radiocommunication Bureau of the International Telecommunication Union, a UN specialized agency in Geneva. He had joined the ITU in 1986. His main task, as head of division, was to provide information technology framework in close cooperation with the Space Services Department of the Bureau to support its regulatory activities related to space radiocommunication. He had participated in the implementation of the results of the World Radiocommunication Conferences.
In 1994 he initiated a fascinating project: the design and implementation of an internet based application which gives instant access to the space network systems database of the Radiocommunication Bureau of ITU. The system is being used worldwide and it has been upgraded many times during its operation and it has been enhanced to respect recommendations and requirements on accessibility for visually impaired people to the web.
Peter regularly gives presentations in seminars and workshops on software development, cyber security and accessibility of internet for disabled people.