CSR in the Information Society — Web Accessibility in Europe and Japan

Why are good things adopted so slowly? — Analysis of fresh voice from various stakeholders, and recommendations to fill a gap between what should happen and what is happening. 

Key words

Web accessibility, the Web, WCAG, Information Society, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Information and Communications Technologies (ICT), the elderly, people with disabilities, aging of society, Europe, Japan, voluntary standards

Abstract

Ongoing changes in society towards the Information Society have given rise to new challenges with reference to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).  This paper focuses on web accessibility as a responsibility of corporations and discusses practical ways to ensure that websites, “the Web” hereafter, be made accessible to all the readers, including the elderly and people with disabilities.

The United Nations (the UN) recognises Web access as a basic human right in the Information Society, and Governments in major economies endorse it.  On the technical side, a set of high quality voluntary standards has been established by a group of experts.  Despite this backing, implementation of web accessibility has been slow in practice.  There is a gap between what should happen and what it is happening.  Why are good ideas adopted slowly?

To gain a better insight into today’s reality, its barriers and opportunities, the author interviewed web owners and experts, who are promoting web accessibility in Europe and in Japan, which has led to a number of recommendations for action to all stakeholders.

* This paper has been prepared as a course requirement for the Certificate of Advanced Studies in Corporate Social Responsibility, University of Geneva, Switzerland, 2011

The full paper is available from here.

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