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Re: A clear EU accessibility law proposed? At what cost?

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From: Jukka K. Korpela
Date: Dec 21, 2012 7:16AM


2012-12-21 13:23, Dr Jonathan Hassell wrote:

> Early this month the European Commission issued a proposal
> for a directive on “Accessibility of Public Sector Bodies’ Websites”.

It is an interesting idea. It may become much more interesting when the
content of the proposal will be disclosed. What I mean is that the
current wording of the proposal just verbosely says that public websites
must be accessible. As such, this means approximately nothing. It might
be the intention that this will later be made much more exact, such as
requirement on WCAG 2.0 AA compliance.

But it’s a positive step forward that the EU is considering measures to
enforce accessibility requirements, not just issue recommendations that
are routinely ignored by everyone, including the EU’s own web site. This
is something that I talked about six years ago in “Breaking the
barriers: digital accessibility”:
http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/www/bb.html

While I share the concerns about all the real-world accessibility issues
that are not covered by WCAG 2.0, I think what changes things is rules
that site owners MUST take seriously. It may be trivial and very modest
to require that all img elements must have alt attributes, and it is
trivially easy to fool automated checkers in such issues (just generate
alt="foo", literally). But still moves like that will force site owners,
designers, and implementors to take some accessibility aspects
seriously. This will be a much stronger "awareness raising" action than
all the recommendations combined.

Yucca