BrailleNet created the AccessiWeb trademark and ecosystem in 2003 to support the development of an accessible Web in France.
AccessiWeb supports digital accessibility in France in five main areas:
- Developing and maintaining standards and guidelines based on those produced by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C);
- Providing digital accessibility training for developers, project managers, web editors, and other digital professionals;
- Providing consultancy to ensure digital products and services fulfil accessibility requirements;
- Undertaking AccessiWeb certification audits to test whether sites meet W3C and RGAA standards;
- Coordinating the AccessiWeb Working Group (GTA), the largest network of digital accessibility experts in France.
Standards and Guidelines
As early as 2003, BrailleNet developed a framework for testing conformity to WCAG 2.0 success criteria: the AccessiWeb standard. On 29 April 2015, the French government decided to adopt the AccessiWeb HTML5/ARIA standard as the basis of the revised national standard for digital accessibility in the public sector, the Référentiel Général d’Accessibilité pour les Administrations (RGAA). This motion recognises the important work undertaken by BrailleNet and associated experts of the GTA over the past 15 years to provide an operational framework for applying or checking against WCAG 2.0. From 2015, all AccessiWeb training courses, consultancy and certification processes are based on the RGAA 3.0 standard.
BrailleNet’s training courses are designed to arm professionals with theoretical and practical skills related to digital accessibility. Courses are tailor-made to cater for professionals working with websites, mobile applications, digital books, desktop publishing, digital communications, etc.
Trainees come away with an understanding of the legal, technical and organisational implications of delivering accessible products and services, and are equipped to bring practical know-how to their organisations.
All courses include demonstrations of how disabled users access digital products and services using assistive technologies and present trainees with real-life examples of what accessible content should (and shouldn’t) look like.
Following an AccessiWeb course allows trainees to develop invaluable skills that are recognised across all sectors.
Whatever the nature of the digital project, BrailleNet can provide expert advice to ensure that digital products and services fulfil accessibility requirements. BrailleNet can offer accessibility support at any moment in the project lifecycle (initiation, procurement, spec, design, build, delivery, etc.).
The AccessiWeb Label
BrailleNet’s AccessiWeb label gives organisations an opportunity to highlight efforts undertaken to ensure their websites meet digital accessibility requirements. The AccessiWeb label was launched in 2004 in response to a growing demand from both organisations and users who wanted a means to clearly identify accessible websites. Today, the AccessiWeb label guarantees that a website has met RGAA requirements which implicitly means it also meets WCAG 2.0 success criteria. To this day, BrailleNet has labelled over 130 websites.
The AccessiWeb Working Group (GTA)
Never has there been such a strong demand for expertise in digital accessibility. This is not limited to websites, but all digital supports, products and services. There is currently a marked shortage of professionals and organisations who have the relevant technical and operational skills to support the push for digital accessibility. People with disabilities bear the brunt of this shortage as, particularly in the public sector, teams are ill-equipped to fulfil their legal obligations and render their digital content and web services fully accessible and cannot find suitable contractors to help them with this task.
BrailleNet decided to create the AccessiWeb Working Group to help fill this gap. Members are committed to building and maintaining technical expertise in digital accessibility and increasing the number of digital professionals capable of delivering fully accessible products and services. A non-profit organisation based on voluntary participation and operating outside the commercial e-Accessibility market, the group counts over 500 members and aims to grow as the profession advances.