Table of contents:
Components of the national e-accessibility policy template
In accordance with the provisions of the relevant international instruments, the purpose of e-accessibility is to ensure that persons with disabilities have the same level of access to services and information made available through information and communication technology (ICT) platforms and equipment as all other persons. This includes removing barriers that obstruct access to and use of ICT products, services and applications. ICTs, such as computers, mobile telephones, web pages, and self-service kiosks, can make life easier for individuals and can increase productivity. They can also support learning, information exchange and socializing. If ICTs are not fully accessible, however, they can instead create barriers that further isolate certain groups.
A sample of definitions adapted from the experience of Oman 
E-accessibility: The ability of persons with disabilities and older persons to use ICT-based products, information and services to the same extent as all other persons.
Persons with disabilities: Persons who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual, or sensory impairments which, in interaction with various barriers, may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.
Older persons: Persons aged 55 years and older whose capacity to interact normally with ICTs is reduced as a result of their advanced age.
Assistive ICTs: Innovative technologies that help persons with disabilities and older persons to use ICTs.
ICT-based public equipment: Any ICT-based product or tool located in a public place, such as self-service kiosks, terminals and ATMs.
Information: Set(s) of logical, interrelated data in electronic format which can be accessed, stored and made available in various formats, including text, image, audio, and multimedia.
E-services: Services provided to the public that can usually be accessed via mobile telephone or computer.
Government agency : Any institution or unit which is responsible for carrying out administrative and regulatory functions, exercises authority and is directly responsible for or accountable to the public, such as ministries, councils, Government bodies, and municipal authorities.
3. National jurisdiction
[Insert country name] is a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (hereafter referred to as the Convention), which entered into force in May 2008. The Convention recognizes accessibility as necessary to allow persons with disabilities to exercise their fundamental rights and freedoms. Signatories are obliged to take appropriate measures to ensure that persons with disabilities have access to ICTs, emergency services and online services on an equal basis with others.
Example Adapted from the experience of the United Arab Emirates
To create an inclusive society, free from barriers, which empowers persons with disabilities and guarantees them a decent life.
The objective of this national e-accessibility policy is to regulate the transition to e-accessibility in public services provided by the Government and the telecommunications sector, as well as those provided by the private sector (namely, health, education, e-commerce, commercial payment systems, and private companies that have more than 50 employees and provide public services, or produce or distribute digital content in any form). The following actions will be taken to that end:
Communication service providers will be required to supply telephones enhanced with e accessibility technologies for persons with disabilities and improve their digital service interfaces (including for emergency services) to bring them in line with e-accessibility standards, ensuring that such services are supported with location data from digitally accessible public telephones for use by persons with disabilities, as appropriate and where necessary.
Public-sector institutions will be required to begin improving the accessibility of the digital services provided through their websites and mobile applications, in line with an action plan for priority services for persons with disabilities.
The public and private banking sectors will be required to make improvements to the digital services available through their web pages, mobile applications, self-service kiosks, and ATMs, and to distribute kiosks and ATMs at advertised sites that are easily accessible to persons with disabilities.
A schedule will be drawn up to ensure that e-accessibility requirements are met in all these sectors by a predetermined date.
Mechanisms to enforce and monitor compliance with e-accessibility requirements will be established, and national and international technical standards will be set to which these services must comply (for instance, WCAG 2.0, conformance level A, AA or AAA).
The objective of these guidelines is to provide an enabling framework to support the development of a culture and practice of e-accessibility, through the following actions:
Identifying the general principles applicable to e-accessibility.
Introducing measures to ensure that persons with disabilities have access to public ICT devices, services, applications, and content in urban, semi-urban and rural areas on an equal basis with others.
Taking steps early in the design and implementation process to improve the accessibility of public ICT services with a view to reducing the cost of providing e-accessibility services.
Making e-accessibility services more affordable through subsidies and incentives, where feasible.
Identifying and addressing barriers to the achievement of full e-accessibility.
Applying the principle of universal design in the implementation of objectives.
6. Partnership with civil society organizations specialized in providing services to persons with disabilities
First: As a key component of national e-accessibility policy, persons with disabilities must be actively involved in every task force that deals with disability-related issues, and existing legislation should be enhanced to encourage the involvement of persons with disabilities in policymaking.
As part of those efforts, persons with disabilities must play an active role in:
Carrying out the necessary preparations, studies, data-gathering activities and opinion polls before designing the national e-accessibility policy.
Drawing up the national e-accessibility policy, related action plans and any legislation submitted to parliament in support of the policy.
Implementing, integrating, overseeing, and monitoring the policy, and ensuring the continuous improvement of the policy.
Second: Under the national e-accessibility policy, financial resources must be allocated to ensure that persons with disabilities are able to participate in such processes.
Third: The national e-accessibility policy must be based on the principle that no decision that affects persons with disabilities should be taken without the participation of those persons.
Fourth: The national e-accessibility policy must aim to enhance the awareness of stakeholders – including Government agencies, relevant civil society organizations and persons with disabilities – about the importance of involving persons with disabilities in the process of formulating policies that apply to them.
7. Action lines
Example 1: Action lines adapted from the Canadian experience
The scope of the e-accessibility policy (action lines) is defined according to the phases of implementation, as follows:
In phase 1 [from 202X to 202X], the policy applies to the following:
All main Government web pages (home page as a minimum), pages referenced from Government web pages (third-party content) and smartphone applications (home page as a minimum).
All new web pages and mobile applications published after [202X].
A significant number of web pages of Government websites and smartphone applications – in particular those that are the most frequently used – that provide the most important information and services for individuals and businesses, including rights and benefits.
In phase 2 [from 202X to 202X], the policy applies to the following:
Additional internal Government web pages and applications, in particular the services and web pages that are the most frequently used, as in phase 1.
In phase 3 [from 202X to 202X], the policy applies to the following:
All remaining web pages of Government websites and public mobile applications, as well as the most frequently used private mobile applications that have public service status.
Note: These are the minimum requirements. All departments are encouraged to make more rapid progress, where possible.
Example 2: Action lines adapted from the experience of the United States
Action areas as defined by [name of country]:
- Develop legislation on e-accessibility
- All forms of digital content (including Internet, audio and video applications)
- Computer hardware and operating systems
- ATMs, self-service ticket machines and self-service check-in kiosks
- Devices used to access digital television services
- Telephone services and related equipment
- Access to audiovisual media services, such as television broadcasting and related equipment
- Services related to passenger transport by air, bus, rail, or sea
- Banking services
- Shopping websites and mobile applications
Example 3 on action lines adapted from the Omani experience
The e-accessibility regulations in [name of country] have three main components:
- The use of ICTs, such as computers and mobile telephones
- Access to data, information, digital services, and applications through electronic means
These regulations do not apply to physical accessibility and are not applicable to national security interests or government employees engaged in defence or national security.
Areas of focus and action lines
- Define the areas of focus in the public sector:
- Telecoms regulator/Ministry of ICTs
- Ministry of Interior and related services
- Ministry of Education
- Ministry of Higher Education
- Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs
- Ministry of Transport
- Define the responsibilities of each entity with regard to implementing e-accessibility policies.
- Define the legislative requirements by amending or issuing legislation in accordance with the requirements of national e-accessibility policies and the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CPRD).
The legislature must consider the best way to transpose the rights provided for in the Convention into domestic legislation, which will vary according to each country’s constitution and laws as follows:
- In some countries, once ratified at the international level, the Convention will automatically become part of national law.
- In some countries, the legislature will need to adopt a procedure to ratify the Convention at the national level in order to incorporate its provisions into domestic law.
- In some countries, such as common law countries, rights and obligations are not enforceable unless the relevant provisions of the Convention are incorporated directly into domestic law.
- Define which departments in each ministry are responsible for e-accessibility, and work in cooperation with those departments to enhance national e-accessibility policies. Alongside legislators and policymakers responsible for drawing up e-accessibility policies, officials within such departments play an important role in achieving e-accessibility.
- Public procurement departments:
Public procurement departments are among the key players involved in ensuring e‑accessibility and meeting service needs.
In practice, procurement departments in the ministries implementing e-accessibility are at the frontline for purchasing new e-accessibility services and enhancements. In countries that have implemented e-accessibility policies, in particular those that involve Government products (such as in the United States, Denmark, Ireland, and Canada), experience shows that developing the capacity of national procurement departments, including by providing training tools, has a positive impact on achieving e-accessibility.As mentioned in a number of media reports, ITA of Oman worked with 10 Government sectors (labour and employment, health, education, transport, communications, e-government, the media, banking, internal affairs, and the Ministry of Social Development) to draw up its e-accessibility policy published in September 2012.
8. Awareness-raising and inclusion
The following are examples of awareness-raising and inclusion:
- The [national telecommunications authority/national disability authority/ministry] is responsible for raising awareness of these guiding principles and the rights of persons with disabilities with regard to ICTs.
- The [national telecommunications authority/national disability authority/ministry] and the relevant service providers are responsible for educating the public on how persons with disabilities use public facilities. Such information must be provided to the public in easily accessible formats and must take into account the inputs and information provided by persons with disabilities themselves and their representatives from relevant organizations.
- Providers of public telecommunication services must do the following:
- Ensure that appropriate signage, including universal symbols where appropriate, is provided in the immediate vicinity of public payphones, telephone booths and Internet access points in local communities, with clear indications on how to access those facilities.
- Train employees on how to serve customers with disabilities and familiarize employees with all e-accessibility features intended for such customers. Such training must cover how to use assistive devices and how to interact with persons with disabilities in a practical and functional manner.
9. Mechanisms to enhance e-accessibility
Below are some examples of mechanisms that can be used to enhance e-accessibility:
Providers of e-accessibility services must avoid discrimination – including unintentional – against persons with disabilities by failing to make facilities, products or services accessible. One way to do this is to implement the principle of universal design throughout their own organizational structures by conducting awareness-raising programmes and advertisements about e-accessibility and the services, options and equipment available to support e-accessibility for persons with disabilities. In addition, they must do the following:
- Ensure that public service websites are consistently accessible.
- Provide spaces, equipment and software as required for e-accessibility without discrimination based on location (urban vs. rural) or economic factors.
- Provide accessible spaces, equipment and software.
- Make independent public e-accessibility devices available to blind persons and persons with visual impairments, deaf persons, persons with hearing impairments and persons with limited mobility.
- Remove all obstacles that hinder access to the physical spaces where e-accessibility services are provided.
Persons with disabilities must be able to use any means of communication to contact the emergency services for free, regardless of the technology or device used.
Employees of entities that provide public services must receive regular training on the fundamental principles of how to interact with customers who have disabilities. Such training must include information on the culture, languages and social standards of persons with disabilities, in addition to the principles of e-accessibility, availability, solutions, and information sources.
10. Requirements for compliance with standards
Example on requirements for compliance with standards:
Digital services and websites must comply with the guiding principles on the accessibility of web content set out in WCAG 2.0 published by the Web Accessibility Initiative of W3C, at the appropriate conformance level (A, AA or AAA). ICT-based public equipment must be available to and accessible by persons with disabilities and older persons.
Templates of requirements for compliance with standards
When implementing e-accessibility policies in practice, [name of country] and certain Government institutions (such as ministries and agencies) adhere to three main standards:
Note: The level of compliance with these standards varies from state to state.
WCAG 2.0 at level AA without modifications for web content, and WCAG 2.0 at level AA for web-based documents and programmes, in accordance with the Guidance on Applying WCAG 2.0 to Non-web Information and Communications Technologies (WCAG2ICT).a
Participating States are requested to issue an e-accessibility report on websites and smartphone applications specifying the level of accessibility and indicating all non-accessible content.
All public-service Government websites must demonstrate level AA compliance with WCAG 2.0.
All public service government websites must comply with the best practices adopted by W3C, including the Mobile Web Best Practices 1.0.
a W3C Web Accessibility Initiative, “European Union”. Available at https://www.w3.org/WAI/policies/european-union/.
11. E-accessibility statement
Public and private entities should be required to include an e-accessibility statement on all websites, smartphone applications, self-service kiosks and ATMs, and in locations visible to users.
Such statements must include the following information, as a minimum:
- A commitment to ensuring e-accessibility for persons with disabilities
- Which accessibility standards are applied, such as WCAG 2.0 or WCAG 2.1
- Contact information for technical support teams if users experience technical difficulties
The following information should also preferably be included:
- A clear indication of any accessibility restrictions on the website or e-service, to avoid user fatigue
- Measures being taken to guarantee e-accessibility
- The basic technical requirements, such as which browsers support e-accessibility applications
- The environments in which the content has been tested
- Links to national and local laws and policies in effect with regard to implementing the e-accessibility policy
Note: E-accessibility data are important for several reasons, including the following:
- Demonstrate to users that accessibility is taken into consideration
- Provide users with information on the accessibility of content
- Demonstrate commitment to e-accessibility and social responsibility
12. E-accessibility statement templates
Adapted from Qatar
Accessibility statement for the Government’s Hukoomi platform
Adapted from Oman
Accessibility statement for the official e-government services portal
Adapted from Saudi Arabia
Accessibility statement for the Unified National Platform
National e-accessibility policies use the same national governance, enforcement and follow-up tools applicable to all other policies. The policy may include enforcement, follow-up and evaluation regulations that specify the following information:
- Public body responsible for monitoring implementation of and compliance with the time-bound action plan for the policy
- Focal point in each ministry, department or section responsible for implementing the assigned tasks regarding e-accessibility
- Expected completion date for each implementation stage of the policy and action plan
- Mechanisms and indicators in place to measure success in implementing the policy and its action plan, and the frequency of implementation reporting
Template adapted from Canada
The 2019 Act to ensure a barrier-free Canada (Accessible Canada Act) specifies the pace of work for agencies responsible for monitoring, implementation, auditing and enforcement.
To ensure that all regulated entities fulfil their commitments, the Act proposes that a mix of proactive measures be used to ensure compliance, including the following, among
 This framework was adopted by the Sultanate of Oman in E-accessibility Regulations No. HTM 1-5.
 Sultanate of Oman, E-accessibility Regulations No. HTM 1-5. Available at https://omanportal.gov.om/wps/wcm/connect/94d96e13-2a62-4435-99eb-074270ccf2a0/3.+e-Accessibility%2BPolicy%28Ver1.0%29_Arabic.pdf?MOD=AJPERES&CACHEID=94d96e13-2a62-4435-99eb-074270ccf2a0.