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E-Accessibility Legislation
and Initiatives in Ireland
Dónal Rice
ICT Accessibility Coordinator
National Disability Authority
[email protected]
E-Accessibility Legislation and Initiatives in
• Introduction to National Disability Authority
• Current Situation
– Policy and Legislation – the stick
– NDA IT Accessibility Guidelines
– Effect of policy, legislation and initiatives on web
– Excellence Through Accessibility Award – the carrot
• Future Developments
National Disability Authority
• Mission
– Promote and help secure the rights of people with disabilities
– Shape public policy and legislation
– Encourage accessibility of public services
• Approach
To assist the Minister in the co-ordination and development of policy
To undertake and commission relevant research
To advise the Minister on standards
To monitor the implementation of standards and codes of practice
To recognise the good standards and quality with an awards system
Current Irish Legislation – the stick
• Employment Equality Act (1998)
– employment of persons with disabilities
– provision of accessible technologies to employee
• Equality Act (2004)
– reasonable accommdation => undue hardship
• Equal Status Act (2000)
– categorises discrimination under 9 grounds, one of which is disability
– reasonable accomodation? – case law
• Disabilities Bill (2004)
– public services providers obligation to ensure information delivered
electronically is accessible to people with vision impairments who have
access to assistive technologies
NDA IT Accessibility Guidelines
• NDA launched the NDA IT Accessibility Guidelines v1.1 in 2002
• Goal of NDA IT Accessibility guidelines
- motivate users
- provides guidance
- easy to use
• Technology types
- Web
- Public Access Teminals (e.g. ATM’s, Information kiosks)
- Telecommunication Devices
- Application Software
Two Years On…
• Recent Accessibility Report on Public Sector Websites by Ennis
Information Services -
• 41% of sites had poor quality alts (WCAG Priority 1)
– 48% had either average or poor page titles (WCAG Priority 2)
– 59% provided little scaling (WCAG Priority 2)
– 81% invalid HTML (WCAG Priority 2)
• NDA web survey of government web masters
– Lack of awareness :
– accessibility not included as a criterion in tenders
– no accessibility auditing/tesing with people with disabilities during the
design stage
– Consultants need consultants!
– Lack of awareness of how people with disabilities use ICT
– Lack of awareness of why guidelines say the thinks they do
My current favourite
“The concept of the net speaks of reaching
further, of connecting and being connected. It
opens from the centre, communicating at one
level the opportunities for increased
interaction with and within the marketplace
and at another that these opportunities should
be open to all.”
• Good effort – but misguided
• Some notable exceptions – driven by local policy eg Information
Society Commission – Department of an Taoiseach
Initiatives – the carrot
Excellence Through Accessibility Award
– Main accessibility initiative in ireland
– Programme for Prosperity and Fairness 2000 - a commitment
– An awards process for Government Departments and their
– does not apply to private sector
– 14 accessibility guidelines and a detailed assessment tool
– Built Environment
– Quality Customer Services
• provision of information
• Webistes and other HTML content
• Public Access Terminal eg kiosk
– Pilot Study
Excellence Through Accessibility Award
• Committed to Accessibility
• Quality in Accessibility
• Excellence in Accessibility
The Future
•Next iteration of NDA IT Accessibility Guidelines – 2005
–Provide significant guidance for:
–Designers eg. use of colour
–Developers eg. coding an accessible form
–Content creator eg. sensible link text
–Guidelines for emerging technologies eg. Digital TV, 3G mobile phones
–On-line forum for developers
–Procuremnet toolkit – similar to “Buy Accessible” Wizard in America or
toolkit in Denmark
–Code of Practice for ICT audits
–Provide a template for carrying out audits
–Statutory weighting
–Excellence Through Accessibility Award
Dónal Rice
ICT Accessibility Coordinator
National Disability Authority
[email protected]