Published on August 14, 2007
Wantanee Phantachat, chief of assistive technology at Nectec, said the centre was issuing WCAG as a national guide to developers to create their websites to support Web accessibility to enable those with disabilities easier access to information.
"The centre has completed the national guidelines needed to develop websites for the disabled to encourage government agencies and the private sector to assist those with disabilities.
It will distribute the guidelines to more than 250 government agencies and conduct training for Web developers from government agencies as the next step," said Wantanee.
The idea is to allow disabled people in Thailand the same access to information and knowledge via the Internet as others, and ensure they have universal access to services. The centre will also upload the guidelines to a public website.
"The websites which follow the guidelines will provide an opportunity for disabled people to access information. So far no government agency website supports universal access," said Wantanee.
She said the guidelines would also be aimed at ensuring telecom companies and service providers developed communications services that were available to everyone on an equal basis. The guidelines will also determine the format and standard for the development of telecommunications and information services for disabled people so it will be easier for them to use new technology and services.
The guidelines explain how to make Web content accessible to people with disabilities and are intended for all Web content developers and developers of authoring tools.
She said the guidelines would help people more quickly find information on the Web, and do not discourage content developers from using images and video. They also explain how to make multimedia content more accessible to a wide audience including techniques for document validation and testing, with an index of HTML elements and attributes.
"Disabled people in Thailand will soon enjoy universal access to improve their quality of life through access to knowledge and information via Web accessibility."
Private Satansat, an official at the Thailand Association for the Blind, said most disabled people now lack the opportunity to access knowledge and information from the Internet. To promote universal access and Web accessibility, government agencies should set the example and create their sites to allow disabled and blind people easier access to knowledge from the Internet through services such as electronic learning.
"The Internet is an important resource for the disabled to reach information. If Web developers build their sites following the WCAG standards it will very useful to these people," said Private.
He said however that disabled people have to purchase screen readers worth more than Bt40,000 per unit.
Wantanee said that Thailand now has around six million or 10 per cent disabled people in the population of 62 million. The centre expects the guidelines will encourage government agencies to create websites under the national standard at around 5 per cent in the first year with all websites supporting WCAG in the next five years.