The 24th workshop of the Groupe de Travail AccessiWeb brought together around 45 digital accessibility professionals for a day of presentations and discussions on digital accessibility standards. Held at the Cité des Sciences et de l’industrie in Paris, the day was particularly rich and stimulated active exchange and interaction among participants.
Following presentations on the latest iterations of the RGAA, of WCAG and of ARIA, and on recent developments in legislation brought about by the French law for a digital republic and the new European accessibility directive, BrailleNet presented the COMPARE repository, an Erasmus+ project in partnership with DIAS (Germany) and Funka (Sweden).
The day concluded with an open discussion exploring key hurdles facing the French digital sector that may go towards explaining why organisations continue to fall short of their responsibilities with regards to accessibility. Insufficient training at all levels, the fact that the accessibility profession continues to function as a “cottage” industry and a judicial system which makes it difficult for individuals or disability groups to challenge organisations who fail to meet their obligations were just a few of the issues raised and discussed by participants. Suggestions on how the situation might be improved (on which there was by no means a consensus) included integrating core accessibility components into all ITC courses, ensuring that organisations publish a detailed accessibility policy and imposing greater sanctions, including social media “naming and shaming” campaigns, on organisations that fail to meet their accessibility requirements.