South Korea moves towards web accessibility

Wednesday, 20 January 2010 10:50am

The South Korean Ministry of Public Administration and Security will begin a web accessibility standards survey of 1,000 frequently used websites by the end of the first quarter this year.

While mandatory compliance is not being considered at this point, the Ministry's survey is expected to place public pressure on organisations to improve their web accessibility in consultation with disability groups and standards experts.

In Korea, experts and consumer groups have noted that text-to-speech solutions, often used on government and organisation websites, do not meet web accessibility standards. In Australia, the Centrelink website provides an example of a similar text-to-speech solution.

"If these websites do not comply with web standards, blind users cannot access the websites even if they use text-to-speech software," said Yoo Yeong-il, a researcher at the National Information Society Agency.

Like the final report of the Australian Government 2.0 Taskforce in 2009, the Korean Ministry notes that web standards like accessibility are about both compliance and changing social attitudes.

"It is impossible to create a compliance demanding to meet web standards as the Differentiation Prohibition Act for the Disabled requires," said Kim Hui-soo, section chief of the Ministry of Public Administration and Security. "But, a survey will renew the social mindset toward web accessibility."

The Ministry has indicated that the surveys will occur regularly.

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