Author: Levan Avalishvili
In order to provide access to information and ensure its compliance with international standards, the website of the Parliament of Georgia (www.parliament.ge) was optimized to A Level for persons with disabilities. This was done within the framework of the Joint Parliamentary Project of European Union and United Nations Development Program (UNDP), in collaboration with the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI).
The Parliament website has been brought in line with A Level Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) of International W3 Accessibility Standards and is maximally customized for users with disabilities.
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) was elaborated by World Wide Web Consortium within the framework of WAI Guidelines and Techniques Program and consists of 12 indicators (simplification of navigation on webpage, upload of document in simple formats, upload of sound and visual materials in easily understandable formats for people with disabilities and other). WCAG 2.0 Guidelines derive from the following principles – easily understand and process information and promote unhindered access to it.
Furthermore, Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) offer different levels of optimization of webpages for persons with disabilities, more precisely, there are three – A, AA and AAA Levels of optimization.
As of today, the website of the Parliament of Georgia is optimized to A Level, which means the following:
- In order to easily perceive visual content of webpage, it can be replaced with text alternative (such as large font, Braille, sound, symbol or simplified text). For this purpose, user can use special equipment or additional software, such as Braille Keyboard and Screen-to-Speech programs;
- Materials given in audio and video formats can be paired with an alternative text format version or link by means of which a disabled person will be redirected to the text version of materials given in audio or video formats;
- Disabled persons can navigate on the webpage of Parliament by means of keyboard and all functions of the webpages are available through the keyboard;
- Special mechanism can be added to the webpage. The aforementioned mechanism will make it possible for disabled persons to avoid repeated content of the webpage or bypass to the material of their interest;
- As a result of the optimization, other standards of A Level of W3 Accessibility were also implemented on the webpage of Parliament. For the full information, please see WCAG 2/0 Guidelines.
The initiative to optimize the Parliament website derives from the obligation set forth in the Open Parliament Georgia Action Plan 2015-2016. According to Paragraph 2.1 of the Action Plan, the Parliament of Georgia undertook the commitment to simplify access to parliamentary information for persons with disabilities. This commitment derives from one of the fundamental principles of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) and its implementation is actively supported by the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI).
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