Web Accessibility Policy Making:
An International Perspective
This document is an excerpt from the G3ict White Paper “Web Accessibility Policy Making: An International Perspective,” (Revised Edition 2012) researched and edited by Nirmita Narasimhan of Centre for Internet & Society, India, in collaboration with accessibility and disability policy experts from around the world. The paper seeks to identify some of the initiatives and best practices which have been adopted by 14 countries and the European Union as a first step towards policy formulation for countries.
Republic of Korea
South Korea is an excellent example of an Asian country with a measurable action plan to bridge the digital divide that has also enacted overarching legislation applicable to public and private sector over a period of time starting with government agencies in the first phase. South Korea also has a comprehensive, well-structured policy addressing various facets including development of ATs and increasing awareness of web accessibility requirements and has established a set of guidelines covering accessibility of IT products and services in general including web accessibility requirements in particular. Further, South Korea has established a mechanism for measurement and evaluation of implementation progress. South Korea has signed and ratified the UNCRPD and the Optional Protocol.
The South Korean government has been conducting accessibility research since 2005 with an aim to improve web accessibility of government websites, increase awareness of web accessibility and develop policies for web accessibility in Korea. There are two main authorities charged with the responsibility of bridging the digital divide - the Ministry of Public Administration and Security and the National Implementation Society Agents. Further, there are several advisor groups. South Korea's accessibility framework consists of:
• The 2007 Korea Disability Discrimination Act:
This Act provides Information Access Rights, reasonable accommodations in IT and communication and defines the role of the governmental agencies and also sets web accessibility obligations until 2015 for different kinds of entities and organisations.
• National Informatization Act: The 2009 National Informatization Act in South Korea specifically covers ICT access and usage for persons with disabilities and the elderly, mandates governmental agencies to respect web accessibility standards, defines ICT accessibility guidelines, provides for AT and ICT for persons with disabilities, promotes ICT access environment for persons with disabilities and elderly people and provides ICT Learning Opportunities for the underprivileged. It also establishes the "National Information Society Agency (NIA)."
South Korean accessibility policies are classified in five groups, namely developing and supplying ATs for persons with disabilities, operating ICT accessibility programs, developing ICT accessibility standards, conducting research, and increasing awareness. The Information and Telecommunications Accessibility Promotion Standards Forum (IABF), formed in 2002, promotes accessibility to ICT products and services through sharing of relevant information among developers, scholars and other groups. The IABF operates through three divisions: the policy division, the information and telecommunication divisions and the web accessibility division.
South Korea has been developing accessibility guidelines and standards since 2005. There are two national standards. One is the Internet Web Content Accessibility Guideline of December 2005, based on the Reference Guidelines: Section 508 .H1194.22 & WCAG 1.0 & WCAG 2.0 Draft Version (2003. 6), and the second is the Automatic Teller Machine Accessibility Guideline 1.0 of October 2007.
2. Compliance with WCAG:
South Korea's national standard of web accessibility guidelines is based on the reference guidelines: Section 508 .H1194.22, WCAG 1.0 & WCAG 2.0 Draft Version.
The web accessibility obligations laid down in the South Korea Disability Discrimination Act are intended to apply to both private and public sector gradually by 2015 as per the current roadmap, starting with Government Agencies and subsidiaries in 2009.
4. Protocol for evaluating and monitoring:
In order to monitor accessibility trends, Korea conducts a survey on persons with disabilities computer and internet usage every year. Research is also carried out on the status of web and IT products' accessibility, compliance (computer, ATMs, cellular phones, etc.) and awareness of web accessibility. According to the web accessibility annual survey, the average score has increased to 81 in 2008 from 72.2 in 2005 out of a total possible score of 100.
1. Information and Telecommunications Accessibility Promotion Standard Forum
2. National Information Society Agency
3. Developing AT websites