Accessible summer greetings

It is getting better! According to the Digital Economy and Society Index, Desi, the whole EU is becoming more digitized, which of course means major opportunities for persons with disabilities.

Susanna Laurin

Title: Chief Research and Innovation Officer

At the same time, 44 % of Europeans lack basic IT skills, which is an important number to remember when we talk about all potential benefits - they are not yet available to everyone.

The Nordic countries which are our home-markets have, together with the Netherlands, the most advanced digital economies in the EU. When it comes to Digital Public Services, Estonia, Finland and the Netherlands are the top performers.

Demand for IT expertise is higher than supply in all EU countries, including the mature markets. Companies say it's hard to recruit IT specialists and that is something we see everyday.

Accessibility is not mentioned specifically in the report, but it is noted that the digital divide is a major challenge that must be bridged in order not to slow down development. Not least because more and more jobs are digitized in some form.

It is interesting that one of Desi's recommendations is to create a national partnership with many different stakeholders for digital skills and a strategy for reducing the gaps. It sounds like a good description of the Swedish government's User Forum, which unfortunately was closed down a few years ago.

How is digitalization connected to inclusion?

From our perspective it is, of course, interesting to compare the Desi index with status of web accessibility. And, not surprisingly, the countries below the EU average in Desi are also less developed areas when we measure web accessibility.

Poland, Croatia, Italy, Greece, Bulgaria and Romania belong to the countries where there is room for improvement in both digitization and accessibility. It will be exciting to see if Slovakia and Slovenia, which, according to Desi, are making the most progress in digitization, will also begin to move forward when it comes to accessibility.

Before everybody disappears into lazy holidays, we have another meeting in the Web Accessibility Accessibility Directive expert group with the Member States' representatives and the Commission in Brussels. We have just submitted our first report with recommendations on monitoring methodology, accessibility statements and standards for mobile. In several of the countries where we are involved in the transposition, the first reports on implementation of the directive in national law will be published. The European Parliament will vote on a much debated report from the IMCO Committee about a severely weakened European Accessibility Act in June.

But after that, it's time to cut the moorings and drift away on the ocean, focusing on all the unread novels instead. I hope all our customers and partners will enjoy exciting or peaceful holidays, depending on your taste and needs.

Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) 2017, opens in new window

Related chronicles by Susanna Laurin

  • Accessibility is moving forward – believe it or not

    6 May 2019

    Sometimes progress is hard to spot if you are in the middle of the whole thing. It might be useful to take a step back and reflect on all the different things going on in our business. The evolution is quite impressive, says Funka's Research and Innovation Officer.

  • Focus on elderly users

    7 February 2019

    Funka's CEO Susanna Laurin reports from a debate in the European Parliament and international standardization that deals with the inclusion of elderly in IT development.

  • Thanks for another amazing year!

    29 November 2018

    Another year of accessibility work is coming to an end. Funkas’ Susanna Laurin writes about the importance of positive feedback and the need to give appreciation to those who do the right thing.

  • Between hope and despair

    14 August 2018

    Monitoring and possible fines can be a driving force for accessibility. But at the same time, threats can mean that services are taken down. How do we make sure that legislation increases accessibility?

  • Make sure accessibility is afloat

    29 May 2018

    Funka's Susanna Laurin sees similarities between working with accessibility and taking care of a wooden boat. Both activities require patience and the results can make many people happy.

  • Germany Inclusion Days in Berlin

    5 December 2017

    The International Day of Disabled Persons keeps us busy in all our markets. This year we contribute to the Inclusion Days program in Berlin, Germany.

  • It's time to put our feet down!

    8 November 2017

    A judicial precedent now allows for a tighter interpretation of the Swedish law on support and services for certain disabled people. This may mean that many people lose their right to personal assistance. Do we really want people to be denied a worthy life on equal terms with others?

  • Funka in the U.S.

    6 March 2017

    We are always interested in what is going on in our market. When two conferences on accessibility, gaming and assistive technology happens in the same week, the agenda is filling up.

  • The eternal question of cost

    7 February 2017

    Funka’s Susanna Laurin reports from an EU conference on accessibility and legislation in Brussels. The focus is, as usual, on the economy.

  • To recycle consultants

    6 January 2017

    Two of our very competent consultants have tried their wings with our clients and then chosen to come back to Funka. Naturally, we're very excited and we've asked Oskar and Karin to tell us a little bit about their experiences.

  • 10 years with the UNCRPD

    8 December 2016

    Funka’s Susanna Laurin ponders what we celebrate on the international day of persons with disabilities. Accessibility seems - more than ever - a moving target.

  • An international perspective on accessibility

    4 July 2016

    Funka’s Susanna Laurin is reporting on an exciting meeting of experts from all over the world, at the US Access Board in Washington.

  • Report from the European eAccessibility Forum in Paris

    17 June 2016

    The French association for the visually impaired, BrailleNet, arrange an annual conference on digital accessibility. The theme for the 2016 edition was the internet of things. Funka’s own Susanna Laurin is reporting from the conference.

  • The dangers of legislation

    10 March 2016

    An unsettling trend is happening in the U.S.: by using legislation as a battering ram lawyers are making money, but inaccessibility persist.

  • There’s hope for the future

    30 November 2015

    Susanna Laurin's reflections on the situation for people with disabilities face in the world today.

  • Integrity and culture

    11 September 2015

    Funka’s CEO Susanna Laurin reflects on cultural differences between Spain and Sweden, personal integrity and how badly things can get, even when you try your hardest to do the right thing.

  • While we are enjoying it

    18 June 2015

    Funka’s Susanna Laurin considers trends in accessibility and the fact that we no longer have much time to reflect.

  • When technology can make a difference

    18 March 2015

    Different safety and technology aspects are being brought up as arguments against e-voting, but these problems must be possible to overcome. Funka's Susanna Laurin takes some time to reflect upon the democratic perspective of e-voting and today's broad lack of accessibility.

  • A mutual admiration society

    29 October 2014

    Funka’s Susanna Laurin questions why accessibility and user experience experts are so eager to talk to people with similar opinions. Would it not be better to let different views and opinions meet to bring about change?

  • Sunny days, but no time to be lazy

    19 June 2014

    We look back at a hectic period and look forward to even more work. But first of all, we will enjoy the summer holidays.

  • Good for all...?

    25 February 2014

    Funka’s Susanna Laurin rejoices in the fact that design for all really works in our everyday life.

  • Funka Christmas letter 2013

    20 December 2013

    Susanna Laurin, Funka, sums up a busy year. A year of continued growth, continued expansion in Norway and a new office in Madrid.

  • Why WCAG is not enough

    25 October 2013

    It is leaning towards legislation on web accessibility in the EU. Funka's Susanna Laurin takes a closer look at what the guidelines that almost everyone is pointing towards actually entail for the users.