Attending the “National Webmasters Interface on Accessible ICT” rekindled my soft spot for People with Disabilities (PWD’s). The first time I attended the Accessible ICT Training on 2004, was an eye opener. This follow up workshop rekindled my ongoing drive to make my web designs accessible to PWD’s
This time around, the government and academe webmasters made a plan on how to tackle the problem on the national level. There were 2 teams, one on defining the minimum technical standards and two, a team which will promote the cause on a national level. Team one, which defines the minimum standards, was formed even if there has been a standard set by W3C because based upon the experience of developed countries, the minimum standards is hard to implement, especially on the economic scale. Discussions arised upon why standards should be lowered or not but eventually boiled down to the capacity of the implementing country/region.
I wanted to promote accessibility on the national level, that’s why I joined Team number two. Again, plans were made and here was the output:
Group 2: Promoting Accessibility to GOs, NGOs, Educational Institutions and Businesses
- How do we convince GOs, NGOs, Educational institutions and Businesses of the value of making their website accessible?
• Business Benefits –
There would be an increase in customer base and a wider audience o Clean codes, less download time and more usable website, which means lesser costs for bandwidth o High ranking google search, businesses are easier to find
- Should we use push (legislation) or pull (incentive) strategies to promote accessibility?
Strategies in promoting accessibility will be different for GOs and private sector.
- For GOs, push (legislation) strategy is recommended. There should be a stronger law for disable persons which will include the ICT (BP 344 does not include ICT). But since passing a law in our country will take a time, an Executive Order may be issued first by the President to compel GOs to implement web accessibility in all government agencies.
- For private sector, the pull (incentive) strategy is more appropriate in promoting accessibility. The following are being suggested:
- There should be an award-giving body to give recognition and other incentives to websites that comply with web accessibility.
- A seal of accessibility may be given to all pwd-friendly websites.
- Only those web developers who are TESDA certified for web accessibility will be able to participate in government biddings of all ICT related projects.
- How do we educate current and future webmasters and practitioners on the technical aspect and benefits of accessible design?
- Form an association of web developers who will be willing to do training of other web developer on web accessibility.
- Integrate ICT accessibility in school curriculum and in all trainings being conducted by different government agencies and private sector.
- Hold a summit for all ICT champions, organizations, etc. in order to make them aware of the importance of web accessibility as well as its benefits.
- Use the tri-media technology. Flyers and brochures may be given to the public to make them more informed about web accessibility. Similarly, radio, television, and the internet are effective tools that may be used in disseminating information.
Sadly, it was overlooked to have a plan of action in implementing this output from the two groups. But that wont be a problem, we, the participants will be the one to plan the course of action, and hopefully the Philippine government will support us through the DSWD and NCWDP.