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.
Thailand has formulated a strategic action plan for achieving web accessibility as well as promotion of local ATs. Thailand has also developed web accessibility guidelines based on a modified version of WCAG intended to be promoted in the public and private sector. These measures do not have the force of legislation at this time. Thailand has signed and ratified the UNCRPD but not the Optional Protocol.
Thailand has incorporated web accessibility priorities into its general telecommunications policy and come up with indigenous guidelines. It features an action plan for bridging the digital divide and an indigenous set of web accessibility standards.
• Thai Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (Th-WCAG):
In consultation with web developers, Thailand developed its own national web accessibility guideline for web developers, which were, in effect, a modified version of Level 1 of WCAG2.0. Though lacking the force of law, the intent was to promote these guidelines in both the public and private sectors.
• Bridging the Digital Divide Strategic Plan (2008-2010):
The Ministry of Information Technology (MICT) has developed the Bridging the Digital Divide Strategic Plan (2008-2010) as its roadmap for promoting web accessibility as well as research and development of the local AT industry. The plan seeks to increase web accessibility, develop an AT industry, and to increase access channels and number of personnel related to AT and related technologies. The goals of the plan include: obtaining sufficient funding from the public and private sector for reducing the barriers of accessing information, redesigning government websites based on the MICT’s web accessibility standards, establishing an AT industry, and providing training to persons with disabilities in the use of ATs. The MICT laid out four strategies and 16 projects to achieve these goals, but as yet, data on their implementation and effectiveness are lacking.
2. Compliance with WCAG:
The Th-WCAG is partially compliant with WCAG 1.0.
The strategic plan has aspirations of reaching both the public and private sectors.
• Manila Design Recommendations on Accessible Information and Communications Technologies (ICT)
• Manila Declaration on Accessible Information and Communication Technologies (ICT)
• Proadpran Punyabukkana, Suchai Thanawastien, Ajin Jirachiefpattana, Thailand’s National Digital Divide Strategic Framework http://delivery.acm.org/10.1145/1370000/1368065/p97punyabukkana.pdf?key1=1368065&key2=9821839421&coll=GUIDE&dl=GUIDE&CFID=46301622&CFTOKEN=39347689
• Namnueng Mitsamarn, Waragorn Gestubtim and Sirilak Junnatas, Web Accessibility: A government’s effort to promote e-accessibility in Thailand