4.5.6 Web accessibility

For some time now, a key policy consideration for public agencies in developed countries has been the accessibility of private and public websites.142 In accordance with the principles of Universal Design, incorporating the needs of persons with disabilities into the design and development of a website at the earliest stages is likely to incur little or no additional cost. Websites that are currently inaccessible are typically more difficult and expensive to retrofit.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)143 has produced internationally recognized guidelines and resources for the development of accessible websites. Many countries now use the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, version 1 or 2, as the standard to which all public administration websites must conform. Policy-makers should consider imposing targets on publicly funded institutions, such as schools and universities --,and even private companies -- for the development of new websites and the retrofitting of old website to conform to these standards.

A report on “Web Accessibility Policy Making: An International Perspective” showing a range of policy approaches to Web accessibility is available from the G3ict website.