Comparing peer accessibility ratings in evaluation (COMPARE)
The need for an accessible society
Today, access to online information and services has become a critical requirement for successful inclusion in society. But many digital resources are still not accessible to people with disabilities. An aging population means the share of people with disabilities is rising. This, and the digitisation of all parts of society, makes inclusive digital content and services more important than ever.
A new benchmark set by the EU
The EU has recently created a new law that calls for all public web sites and mobile apps across Europe to be accessible for people with disabilities (the Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the accessibility of the websites and mobile applications of public sector bodies , COM/2016/0484 final).
The benchmark for accessibility is set in the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) which were developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). As part of the new EU law, the adherence of public web sites and apps to WCAG will need to be evaluated in a uniform manner. The EU is will therefore develop a common evaluation method.
This raises the question about the status quo of accessibility evaluation across Europe. What are the actual differences in EU Member states today?
Diverse accessibility evaluation methods across Europe
Most current accessibility evaluation methods are based on WCAG 2.0 conformance level AA. They are usually defined in more detail on a national or organizational level. It is therefore no surprise that across the spectrum of organisations, many differences exist in the way WCAG success criteria are applied to actual web content. This is partly due to the way the common WCAG success criteria are translated into specific technical checkpoints. Another aspect is that evaluation methods may go beyond WCAG 2.0 to include additional accessibility criteria or usability aspects that are important for people with disabilities.
What is the COMPARE project all about?
COMPARE (Comparing peer accessibility ratings in evaluation) is a project that will document and compare differences in current evaluation practices of accessibility experts across Europe. The partners in the EU-funded Erasmus Strategic Partnership are DIAS (DE), Funka (SE) and BrailleNet (FR). The project will set up a Wiki-based repository of web content and associated accessibility ratings to document actual differences. We want to foster a discussion of rating approaches that can contribute to a consensual rating approach. Expert organisations and individuals from other countries are invited to contribute to the repository.
Are you interested?
If you want to learn more about COMPARE, please send a quick note to firstname.lastname@example.org so we can set you up to receive the COMPARE newsletter (you can unsubscribe at any time).
If you carry out accessibility evaluations and would like to contribute to the repository, write to email@example.com. We will then send you login details once the repository has been set up so that you can add new web content cases or contribute ratings or comments to cases contributed by others
Compare is a Strategic Partnership project funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Commission.
Project number: 2016-1-DE02-KA202-003453
The COMPARE project has started on 1. January 2017 and will run for two years.
Tel: +49-40 43 18 75 25
Fax: +49-40 43 18 75 45