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Archive for March, 2010

Exclusive: EU Set To Ditch Rules On Accessible Goods

The European Union looks set to backtrack on proposed legislation that would have required accessibility to disabled people of all manufactured consumer goods, from digital televisions to washing machines, E-Access Bulletin has learned.

A Brussels meeting this week is expected to confirm changes to the draft Equal Treatment Directive (ETD), first proposed by the European Commission in 2008 to ban discrimination in access to goods and services, as set out in its full title: Proposal for a Council Directive on implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation
( http://bit.ly/9IFqXc ).
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Council Websites: Better Than They Seem?

By Tristan Parker.

At first glance, the accessibility results of this year’s Society of IT Management (Socitm) ‘Better Connected’ review of all UK council websites ( http://bit.ly/dltkU5 ) would suggest that online access to local government for disabled computer users and others using assistive technology is still not a priority.

This year, for example, fewer local authorities achieved level ‘A’ of the international Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, version one (WCAG 1.0 http://bit.ly/cmbc4g ) than last year – 32 compared with 36 – and for the second year running, no council achieved the more stringent level ‘AA’.
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Technology Trust To Launch Online Hub For Social Good

A new online knowledge centre for organisations working in the field of technology and social good is to be launched in June by the charity Nominet Trust, E-Access Bulletin has learned.

The trust (
http://bit.ly/aXFbxD ),
the UK’s largest charitable fund for social IT projects, was set up with £8 million from the UK’s internet domain name registry Nominet to fund UK-based and international internet-related initiatives in the sectors of education, research and development, safety and inclusion meeting the needs of the young, the elderly, the disabled and sick, the disadvantaged, and other vulnerable groups.
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Praise for Councils’ Web Accessibility Progress

UK local authority websites are “much more accessible now than they’ve ever been”, according to one specialist who worked on the recent ‘Better Connected 2010’ review of every local authority website in the UK conducted by the Society of IT Management (Socitm) (
http://bit.ly/dltkU5 ).

Bim Egan, senior web access consultant at the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), told E-Access Bulletin the difference between council websites’ accessibility this year compared with 2009 is “astonishing”. “A much bigger proportion of [councils] are getting the message and are putting processes in place to make their websites a lot more accessible”, she said.
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