The eGov Innovation Center is a competence centre for eGovernment that brings together private, public and academic players. With a presence throughout French-speaking Switzerland, this association raises awareness, advises and supports municipalities in their digital transformation. As a neutral player, the eGov Innovation Center is also a partner of the major national eGovernment bodies, such as the Swiss Digital Administration, eCH, eGov Schweiz, Clusis and Myni Gmeind. The general secretariat is located at the Institute of Informatics of the HES-SO Valais-Wallis which, together with the Haute Ecole Arc in Neuchâtel, is a member of the association and represents the academic sector. Every year, our association organises thematic workshops and the last one questioned the notion of digital accessibility by asking how to make our digital services understandable and usable by people with disabilities.
To answer this question, the eGov Innovation Center organised a workshop with its members on 3 November 2022, from 5 to 7 pm at the HETSL in Lausanne. Speakers from the private, public and academic sectors presented their roadmap for digital accessibility and applied research projects related to the topic. Dann Dupraz, accessibility specialist at Softcom, and Julien Conti, accessibility expert at the State of Geneva, gave a demonstration of accessible and inaccessible websites for blind and visually impaired people. Cédric Baudet, professor and researcher at the HE-Arc and Sylvie Ray-Kaeser, professor and researcher at the HETSL spoke about their research work. Finally, Donato Rotunno, accessibility expert at Liip AG, made the audience aware of the standards set by eCH and particularly of standard 0059, which establishes the rules for digital accessibility.
From accessibility to usage, standards, ongoing research projects and good practices, this workshop looked at the concrete measures that can be taken to make digital platforms accessible to as many people as possible, particularly those with visual or mental disabilities and with the benefit of auxiliary means such as Braille keyboards or voice synthesis. The challenge today is to raise awareness and train IT professionals so that programming integrates these accessibility elements when creating websites or applications. The interest of the eCH standard is to set out clear rules for IT professionals so that they can develop programmes that are accessible to all. The Innovation Booster Technology & Special Needs, headed by Benjamin Nanchen, scientific assistant at the HES-SO Valais-Wallis, offers a research programme on social and technological innovation for an inclusive Switzerland. This programme also participated in the financing of the e-Services TSA project (autism resource directory) conducted by the HETSL and autisme Suisse romande. Based on the FALC language (Facile à Lire et à Comprendre), this project of a directory of services available for people suffering from autism spectrum disorders makes it possible to present information in a clear manner so that the people concerned by these services can find them easily.
With the concrete information provided, those present were able to become aware of the various barriers that make information difficult to access when you have a disability. The eGov Innovation Center, with all its partners, is proposing to act as a support resource for public authorities wishing to implement a digital accessibility strategy in order to fight against the digital divide.
Video presentation by Dann Duparz, digital accessibility expert, Workshop 03.11.22
Video intervention by Julien Conti, eAccessibility expert, Workshop 03.11.22