The Philippine government moves forward to a more accessible Internet as it conducted a national web accessibility workshop for web masters and web developers. This event was organized by the National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA) and the National Computer Institute (NCI), two of the country’s leading advocates of persons with disabilities. The workshop was held at the National Computer Institute from November 28 to 29, 2011.
A total of 25 participants attended the event, all of whom are web masters and web content managers working for the various government agencies of the country. I had the privilege of being one of the speakers in the workshop. Joining me was Mr. Jojo Esposa, president of the Philippine Web Accessibility Group.
Here is a list of the government agencies and organizations who attended the workshop:
- Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board
- Department of Health
- Department of Tourism
- Department of Social Welfare and Development
- Commission on Elections
- Department of Justice
- Department of Trade and Industry
- Department of the Interior and Local Government
- Bureau of Internal Revenue
- Department of Labor and Employment
- National Bureau of Investigation
- National Statistics Office
- Technical Education and Skills Development Authority
- Department of Foreign Affairs
- Government Service Insurance System
- Philippine National Police
- Philippine Health Insurance Corporation
- Resources for the Blind, Incorporated
We began the web accessibility workshop by learning how persons with disabilities use the Internet. I showed the group how blind people read web pages using a screen reader. A screen reader is an application that reads the highlighted text on the computer screen. Then I discussed the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG 2.0). This is an international set of guidelines used by web developers in making their online content accessible. To better understand WCAG 2.0, we visited a number of websites that follow the guidelines as well as sites that contain accessibility barriers.
Mr. Jojo Esposa continued the workshop by discussing the local and international laws focused on web accessibility. Mr. Esposa talked about the Accessible Website Design Guidelines, the Philippines’ very own law on web accessibility. Then the entire group learned how to create accessible web pages. Mr. Esposa discussed the techniques on how to create correct text equivalents for images, “Skip to content” links, and accessible labels for online forms. All of these features enhance the accessibility of websites. Everyone in the workshop had a chance to create web pages that contain the said features. At the end of the workshop, the participants created an action plan containing the steps they will take in making their websites accessible and a corresponding time frame for their activities.
It has been an honor to be in this national event. I thank NCDA and NCI for hosting this workshop and all the participants for their efforts to learn and support web accessibility. I look forward to helping each government agency in making their online content more accessible for persons with disabilities and non-disabled individuals as well.