Templates for E-accessibility Guidelines

A major component of the Arab Digital Inclusion Platform is to develop e-accessibility templates to help ESCWA member States implement national guidelines on broad e-accessibility issues, including web accessibility, telecom equipment accessibility, and audiovisual media and assistive technology accessibility, to ensure equal access to ICT for all.

Many standards have classified accessibility guidelines in three main groups. The first group is based on the desired WCAG success criterion (A, AA, AAA). The second is based on functionality (disability type), and the third is based on requirements. For the purpose of creating the templates, three models are proposed, namely, web accessibility, mobile accessibility, and public access terminals and smart card accessibility. While relaxing some of the stricter criteria to encourage further adoption of more specific guidelines, the proposed templates accommodate the different definitions of disability.

Two important guidelines, the Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG 2)[1] and the User Agent Accessibility Guidelines (UAAG),[2] are part of WCAG and complement other guidelines in achieving accessible web content. If ATAG 2 was applied, it would help developers create accessible web content for persons with disabilities. UAAG enables developers to create web content rendering applications, such as browsers, accessible.

The templates will address the following ICT accessibility issues:

  • Web accessibility;
  • Mobile accessibility;
  • Bank automated teller machines and similar information-providing terminals;
  • Electronic payment and entry cards;
  • ICT procurement.

They serve the following disability categories:

  • Auditory disability (low hearing to deaf);
  • Cognitive and neurological disability (attention deficit hyperactivity, learning disabilities, dyslexia, memory impairments);
  • Speech disability (fluency, stuttering, muteness);
  • Visual disability (low vision, blind, colour blind);
  • Multiple disabilities.

The e-accessibility templates are based on the following standards and guidelines, with different mappings:

  • Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.2;[3]
  • Revised section 508 standards published on 18 January 2017 and corrected on 22 January 2018;[4]
  • EN 301 549 V3.1.1 (2019-11) Harmonised European Standard: accessibility requirements for ICT products and services;[5]
  • Both ATAG 2.0 and UAAG 2.0 are applicable to all operating systems installed on personal computers or handheld devices.

These guidelines serve as basis for ICT hardware and software procurement. Any product that complies with these guidelines is considered accessible. These templates need to be revised periodically to include the updated versions of the above-mentioned standards.

The seven items listed in table 10 are common among all templates for documentation purposes.

Table 10. Items common to all templates

Guidelines title (Arabic/English/French…)
Guidelines version
Document language
Date and revisions/Date approved
Organization responsible for developing/enforcing the guidelines
Intended entities for compliance with the guidelines
Legal disclaimer

Source: Compiled by ESCWA.