On January 27th, EUD joined the Accessibility update held by FUNKA and the European Disability Forum (EDF) on Zoom. The event was moderated by Ms Susanna Laurin – Chief Research and Innovation Officer at FUNKA. As an accessibility expert consultancy originating from the Swedish disability movement, FUNKA aims to provide consultancy on analysis, training, as well as support in making Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) accessible. During the introduction, Ms Laurin expressed the importance of research in FUNKA to come up with new projects that can address specific and concrete issues for persons with disabilities.
Specifically, during the meeting, several projects were shared with the participants to provide further details on FUNKA’s work. Among these, some examples included:
- INTUX (“INtroducing training on user Testing with people with disabilities into UX-design and related higher education programmes”); the main goal of this project is to provide students of UX design the know how to carry out user testing for people with disabilities. The project is being carried out in three different universities in Latvia, Slovenia, as well as Spain and it will end in 2025 with the production of a handbook.
- The event was also an important occasion for EUD to learn about updates on Captioning Projects which aim to make video content more accessible and are currently being conducted in Norway as well as in Sweden. The main objectives of these projects include raising awareness on the importance of captioning for certain groups, as well as on automatic and manual captioning, developing trainings, and continued captioning for a specific time.
- Moreover, updates were provided on the Users Power Accessibility Directive project which aims to make better use of the accessibility feedback mechanism of the Web Accessibility Directive by giving a voice to users about accessibility and inaccessibility of websites and apps. Following this project, FUNKA has published a toolkit on feedback content and mechanisms about website accessibility.
In the last part of the meeting, EU political updates on accessibility were also provided by Mr Alejandro Moledo – Deputy Director and Head of Policy at EDF. Among the political measures, Mr Moledo mentioned the:
- Launch of the Employment Package which consists of a series of documents and supporting materials for Member States to increase the employment rate of persons with disabilities. The goals of the Package include the creation of a toolkit for public employment services, guidelines on reasonable accommodation, and a study on the transition from sheltered employment to open labour market.
- Guidelines on Deinstitutionalisation which should provide a clearer definition and measures to ensure independent living.
- EU Disability Card which aims to ensure the mutual recognition of disability status across EU Member States. The legal process should start in 2023 and the EU Commission public consultation will start in spring.
- AccessibileEU Centre will provide an online informative platform which to coordinate all aspects relating to improving accessibility across the EU and concretely implementing EU accessibility legislation.
Mr Moledo also reminded participants that the European Commission (the Commission) has published the Web Accessibility Action Plan which focuses directly on the Commission websites: according to this plan, the Commissionshould comply with certain regulations and implement an accessibility feedback mechanism. In addition, Mr Moledo reminded us about the adoption of two EU policies: Pay Transparency Directive, which enforces accessible information for persons with disabilities about a vacancy, and the Minimum Wage Directive, establishing equal pay for equal work.
The meeting was an interesting opportunity for EUD to receive updates on recent developments in FUNKA’s projects concerning ICTs accessibility for deaf persons, as well asto keep monitoring political updates on disability policies provided by EDF. EUD will keep following FUNKA & EDF updates in the future to monitor developments concerning deaf persons and accessibility