We definitely see our supportive and informative role prominently, especially now as the whole concept of web accessibility is relatively unfamiliar to many here in Finland and as the law has many issues that need our defining guidelines. Our central aim is to help public sector organs improve the accessibility of their digital services. To reach this goal, we want to provide information and advice that gives a clear idea of what web accessibility is all about and how it is achieved in practice. In other words, we aim to raise general awareness and give specific advice, mainly about the requirements of the law. We are also planning to give good case examples to help other organizations with their efforts in improving accessibility.
Of course, focusing on our informative role now doesn’t mean we are forgetting all about our monitoring task: we have started discussions about the possible tools and methodologies for monitoring accessibility. Planning the monitoring task in practice will be one of our main projects next year. We hope to have a close cooperation with our colleagues in Europe in this area. We think that all of us face the same challenges, so we can learn from each other and share best practices. The EN301549 requirements also leave room for interpretation and our wish is to have a common understanding of these in Europe. We are keen to start discussions with our co-parts in other EU member countries.
Yes, it does: some service industries, which are considered of crucial importance to all citizens, have been included in the purview of the law. Thus, the accessibility requirements also concern financial and insurance industries, as well as postal, energy, and transportation services.
We think that there are challenges in various levels. Probably the most important aspect is the attitude: people working in the public sector bodies need to start wanting to give good and accessible services and contents to all people. This is central if we really want to succeed in making the society more accessible. And then, of course practical information and advice is also needed to give organizations tools to improve the accessibility of their services.