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In an effort to improve Web accessibility of public services for every Japanese citizen, including the elderly and disabled, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) developed Operational Models for Government Agencies and Municipalities: a manual that provides guidance and procedures that ensure accessibility for such tasks as municipality orders for outsourcing Web site development.
To make the manual consistent with the Japan Industrial Standards (JIS) for accessibility (JIS X 8341-3:2010) that was announced in August 2010, the MIC brought together experts across industry, government, and academia to revise the manual, and at the same time, develop a Web accessibility evaluation tool to complement the manual.
The free tool, called miChecker, offers user-friendly features for government agencies and municipalities to comply with JIS X 8341-3:2010. It is based on aDesigner, a Web accessibility assessment tool developed by IBM Research – Tokyo. In addition to checking compliance, aDesigner offers features to allow Web page owners, designers and developers to identify and simulate Web site barriers experienced by the visually impaired.
IBM contributed aDesigner to the Eclipse Foundation as part of the Accessibility Tools Framework (ACTF) – a collection of tools and building blocks developed by IBM.
As part of the MIC’s initiative, IBM researchers made modifications to this open source evaluation tool to take into consideration new accessibility guidelines, such as Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (WCAG 2.0) and JIS X 8341-3:2010.
In June this year, the MIC made the miChecker available on its Japanese home page to help drive social inclusion and active social participation of Japan‘s citizens.
To find out more about other accessibility technology developed by IBM Research, click here.