New requirements for the universal design of electronic public documents are expected in 2013 and will ultimately cover self-publishing of publicly-funded research as well. In anticipation of the coming stipulations, the Research Council has drawn up guidelines to help everyone who needs to publish this type of content.
Text-based and accessible
Universal design within ICT concerns the development of ICT solutions that are accessible to all people regardless of their level of functionality.
“The objective is to ensure that all self-publishing of research that we fund is in accordance with universal design principles,” asserts Wilhelm Friis-Baastad, director of the Department for IT of the Research Council of Norway. “Although these requirements will not be strictly enforced until the regulations enter into effect, we encourage our contractual partners to adopt the guidelines immediately.
“The minimum requirements for universal design entail that files are text-based and saved or encrypted so as to be accessible to users by means of the assistive technology known as a narrator.”
Beneficial for the entire public sector
The organisation Synshemmede Akademikere (an association for vision-impaired academics) is among those that have contributed to the development of the guidelines.
“Generally, the public sector has too little understanding of the challenges faced by vision and reading-impaired computer users,” says the organisation’s director, Magne Bolme. “The Research Council’s guidelines are the most concrete and concise instructions we know of. They will be of great benefit to all public organisations.”
In addition to Synshemmede Akademikere, Dyslexia Norway, the Ministry of Education and Research, the Ministry of Government Administration, Reform and Church Affairs, the Equality and Anti-discrimination Ombud and the Agency for Public Management and eGovernment (Difi) have all contributed to developing the guidelines.
View the guidelines: Accessibility guidelines for electronic publications (PDF-329.8 KB)