Together with other European authorities, Frederikssund Kommune (danish municipality) is currently in a transitional phase where digitalisation must be worked into the entire process, from document preparation to publication on online platforms. With its Web Accessibility Directive (2016/2102 of 26 October 2016), the EU has mandated that all online materials, including documents and PDFs, must be accessible online to all.
Frederikssund Kommune aims for an AAA rating
Kenneth Jensen, a webmaster for Frederikssund Kommune whose areas of responsibility include accessibility, GDPR on the municipality’s web platforms, and visual identity, has high ambitions for the municipality’s digital presence. Jensen explains:
”Our ambition is to be 100% AAA-compliant in terms of web accessibility by September 2020. While it is ambitious, it is really the best way forward, because I am confident that in the very near future, an AAA rating is going to be a requirement, and the extra cost of maintaining the AAA rating is minimal.”– Kenneth Jensen, Webmaster, Frederikssund Kommune
To stamp your website with an AAA rating, the website has to comply with strict standards established by the organisation W3C, which dictates that all documents and PDFs must be 100% accessible.
Kenneth Jensen faced a number of challenges in connection with document accessibility but, most importantly, he needed to find a way to implement a semi-automated work process that would be easy to use and that would not be time-consuming:
”We have 2,500 computer users who write memorandums, letters and documents on a daily basis. I can’t ask them all to remember to mark up tables or insert image descriptions without help. It needs to be simple, easy and fast.”– Kenneth Jensen, Webmaster, Frederikssund Kommune
That is why Jensen contacted Dania Software for a solution that would create an accessible document with just a few clicks of a mouse. The project quickly took shape, and within three weeks, Kenneth Jensen and Dania Software had the rough draft for the Assist tool.
The need for a tool
Assist was designed with the user in mind. As Kenneth puts it: ”The users all have very different IT skills, and accessibility is not one of their core jobs”.
The users who have access to the tool are very pleased. ”The tool is simple and easy to use and doesn’t add to their work routine, as it only takes a few clicks to create an accessible document”, Jensen explains
Kenneth Jensen says unequivocally: ”Without Assist, we wouldn’t reach our accessibility goals – it would be impossible”.
Tested by the Danish Institute for the Blind
Assist was developed in close collaboration with Kenneth Jensen and the Danish Institute for the Blind, which tested accessible documents created with Assist. The result is a thoroughly tested and user-friendly tool.
Complying with the law does not have to be an insurmountable task – you just have to make the right choices. As Kenneth Jensen says:
”Accessibility in PDF files and Word documents isn’t that big of a problem if you just follow some basic ground rules. These rules can be difficult to manage with lots of users, so an intuitive tool is preferable. I have no doubt that Assist will help us reach our goals – not just in terms of legislation, but hopefully in a much broader sense.”– Kenneth Jensen, Webmaster, Frederikssund Kommune