Background

In the last years, a confluence of a series of key initiatives in the field of web accessibility that can foster web accessibility monitoring exercises at national and EU level is happening:

  • the ratification of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) by the EU in December 2010,
  • the progressive adoption of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 across Member states,
  • the finalisation of the work on standardization mandate 376 to incorporate accessibility in public ICT procurements (February 2014) and the publication of the European Standard on Accessibility of ICT products and services in public procurement,
  • the European Commission's proposal of 3 December 2012 for a Directive on the accessibility of the public sector bodies' websites.

A consequence, monitoring initiatives at European level might start adapting in order to be aligned with the Universal Design approach fostered by the UNCRPD, the WCAG 2.0 guidelines, the test methods inspired in EU standard in ICT accessibility. Moreover, as stated in the proposed Directive and based on the objective of this tender, it is time to start thinking about a monitoring methodology that covers a way of monitoring in a uniform basis web accessibility status in all Members States.

The proposal for a Directive on web accessibility points out the need of monitoring in a coordinated way and with a harmonised methodology at EU level. This fact opens new discussions and space for debating on the scientific and practical orientation of a monitoring methodology that can be implemented and used by all Member States. Now the responsibility for monitoring belongs to the European national governments and the Commission will act as knowledge provider and control mechanism to supervise the process of national monitoring.