IGF 2019 WS #404
Accessibility for disabled people: new participatory methods

Organizer 1: Government, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Organizer 2: Government, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)

Speaker 1: Jamshid Kohandel, Government, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 2: Maria Ines Laitano , Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 3: Judy Brewer, Technical Community, Asia-Pacific Group
Speaker 4: Muhammad Shabbir, Civil Society, Asia-Pacific Group


Round Table - Circle - 90 Min

Policy Question(s)

The round table will focus on the development of new participatory methods in order to improve the accessibility of websites for people with disability. A corpus of sub-questions has been identified: Why many websites, especially public sector websites, are still inaccessible? Why current web accessibility audit methods are still insufficient to guaranty full web accessibility? How can we improve the « Web Content Accessibility Guidelines »? What would be the new accessibility testing tools that could be implemented?


GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-Being
GOAL 4: Quality Education
GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
GOAL 9: Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
GOAL 12: Responsible Production and Consumption
GOAL 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
GOAL 17: Partnerships for the Goals

Description: This panel will explore the different problems of current standards to improve web accessibility. We will combine three kinds of approach to deal with it. The first one will bring insights on how people with disability are using the Internet. Then, the design approach will explain to what extent the existing standards are not sufficient. Finally, we will adopt a technical view in order to better understand why is It difficult to develop accessible websites. During the discussion time, we will try to answer the following question : how to create and implement user-centric ways of testing websites into the accessibility standards ? The workshop will be divided into six parts : Introduction : what is web accessibility ? (5 min) by Jérémie Boroy (French Digital Council) How visually-disabled people are using the Internet ? (20 min) by Jamshid Kohandel (DINSIC) Why the existing accessibility standards are not sufficient to improve accessibility ? (15 min) by Maria Inès Laitano (Université Paris 13) Why is it difficult to develop accessible websites ? (15 min) by Shadi Abou-Zahra (Web Accessibility Initiative) Conclusion (5 min) by Jérémie Boroy (French Digital Council) Q&A and debate (30 min) moderated by Clément Le Ludec (French Digital Council)

Expected Outcomes: First the workshop will hopefully highlight insights on how visually-impaired people are using the internet. Showing this, participants of the workshop will be more sensible to the question of web accessibility. On this basis, we will discuss why the existing standards are not sufficient to improve accessibility and why is it difficult to develop accessible websites. Ultimately, the main goal of the workshop is to imagine new participatory methods to improve accessible web development.

The list below provides examples of the ways discussion and presentation will be facilitated amongst speakers, audience members, and online participants and ensure the session format is used to its optimum: Seating: The panel of experts will debate share their expertise and their vision on Internet regulation sitting at the same table so the participants can see and hear them. It will be an effective way to compare and contrast the various positions of the panel. The moderator will open the discussion with a general review of the policy question and then speakers will provide their remarks on the question and then address questions from the moderator. At least 30 minutes will be allowed for questions/comments from the audience. Media: The organizers will explore the use of visuals to animate the session and aid those whose native language may not be English. We also plan to to make a live demonstration on how visually-disabled people are using the Internet. Preparation: Several prep calls will be organised for all speakers, moderators and co-organisers in advance of the workshop so that everyone has a chance to meet, share views and prepare for the session. A conference on accessibility will be organised on this theme during the French conference on disability in June and during the IGF France in July. Moderator: The moderator is an expert, well-informed and experienced in animating multistakeholder discussions. The moderator will have questions prepared in advance to encourage interaction among invited experts and between participants, if conversation were to stall. The remote moderator will play an important role in sharing the ideas of remote speakers/participants. At the end of the session, the moderator will encourage questions from the audience in order to open the debate and bring new perspectives into the discussion. This will also invite the speakers to reflect differently on the matter and think out of the box.

Relevance to Theme: Web accessibility will be one of the most important issue for the next two decades. As a matter of fact, many academics argues that "Population aging" will provoke a huge increasement of people with disabilities. Even though the Internet became one of the main sources of informations, web accessibility is still very limited, therefore a lot of people is kept away from the use of digital technologies. At different scales, standards have been taken to enhance web accessibility. For instance, the "Web Content Accessibility Guidelines" at the international level and the “Accessibility requirements suitable for public procurement of ICT products and services in Europe” at the European level. Some academics consider that those standards are heavily focused on website’s basic functions instead of taking into account the user-experience.

Relevance to Internet Governance: Using the ICT, states are trying to improve, on one hand the administration efficiency and on the other hand, the participation of the citizens. According to many academics, civic technologies became one the main instruments to design public policies. In this context, the improvement of web accessibility is essential to guarantee an equal access to citizenship.

Online Participation

The remote moderator will be involved throughout workshop to include participation from online viewers. The onsite moderator will frequently communicate with the remote moderator during the session to ensure remote participants’ views/questions are reflected and integrated to the discussion, specially during the Q&A sequence. This will ensure remote participations are given the opportunity to interact with multiple experts remotely. Organizers have specially invited a participant to act as the remote moderator and will share information with the remote moderator about training sessions for remote participation at IGF and ensure they have all the necessary information. Co-organizers will ensure that the workshop is promoted in advance to the wider community to give remote participants the opportunity to prepare questions and interventions in advance. Any handouts prepared in advance for the panel will be shared with remote participants at the start of the session so that they have the necessary material to participate.