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AccessiWeb, a series of actions for making legal obligation a reality

Pierre Guillou
BrailleNet, France

pierre.guillou@accessiweb.org

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Speaker's information

Pierre GUILLOU manages the Digital Accessibility Department in BrailleNet and all the AccessiWeb services (label, training, information, ...) since February 2003 and he is the Project Manager of the Support-EAM project since October 2004.
He got a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering in the university of Georgia Tech (U.S.A., December 1995) and an Engineer degree in the telecommunication field at SUPELEC (France, July 1995).
His current working field is about setting up bridge between norms (the back-office world) and industry (the front-office world) in the digital accessibility field.

Summary

Have you seen EDF's commercial on French television or on the Internet that shows its engagement towards an accessible to the handicaped world? This message was backed by images of an upside-down world where each valid person meets obstacles on a daily basis, a world where society is reachable to any but you.

This film brightly shows that if the norm where to find only Braille printed books in a library, it would be difficult for most of the ablebodied persons to have access to information, education or culture. Well it's the kind of situation that the blind persons are confronted with when they step upon files for download on the Internet that are in a proprietary format that their helping devices can't read... In countries that give the same rights to every citizens, on what norm are these Web sites designed?

Public opinion changes, so do laws. Today, long after the Anglo-Saxon countries, each country - in Europe, for instance - is voting a "non-discrimination" law,; in France such a law is called loi pour l'égalité des droits et des chances, la participation et la citoyenneté des personnes handicapées". Such laws make it mandatory to enable accessibility to all aspects of society for the handicapped : buildings, jobs... and access to electronic information as well. Thus the legislative power has expressed its will (as well as often have the executive power); associations are reinforcing their awareness campaigns based on the law and some companies are pioneering this path of job equality and respect for all.

However, when taking the shared political view of an equalitarian society into concrete process, products, services, buildings, Web sites... that are accessible to all, we stumble accross difficulties. What norms to apply ? How to write specifications that comply with the law ? Who are the trained providers ? How to check the abilities of the actors on the market ? What tools comply with the norm ?

If we want the law to become a reality, it is time to enter the industrial era of digital accessibility and the uses made possible by this accessibility. Bridges are to be built between those who know how and those who can developp, produce and invest. There is a huge need for software and hardware integrating accessibility rules.

There is a need at a national level for a Digital Accessibility Bureau (Bureau de l'Accessibilité Numérique or B.A.N.) who will play a critical role in observation, counseling and information on digital accessibility.

AccessiWeb experience can be useful to this double challenge. In France and in Europe, AccessiWeb has developed a network, a know-how and a set of activities which make an platform for experimentation, particularly for Web accessibility, that is unique today.

The long list of actions and projects initiated by AccessiWeb, in coordination with the equivalent organization in Europe, are the elements to fuel European reflection. In particular, the eEurope 2010 plan rely on the work of such European projects as Support-E.A.M. to define the operational and industrial goals to build tomorrow's Web: a long-term fair Web.

Presentation Pierre Guillou (ppt, 1201.50 Ko)
Pierre_Guillou_Braillenet_300106_fr (doc, 214.00 Ko)
Pierre_Guillou_Braillenet_300106_oo_fr (odt, 91.59 Ko)
Pierre_Guillou_Braillenet_300106_pdf_fr (pdf, 277.05 Ko)

See the French version

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