FORUM InTERAcTIng WITH PUBLIc POLIcY
cent) between the ages of 16 and 84 have some sort
of disability [ 9]. So, improved accessibility for all,
not just for the “average person,” is very impor-
tant. It increases the quality of people’s lives and
work and makes interaction more efficient. It can
reduce costs and bring more people into working
life. Additionally, an inclusive society is something
from which everybody can benefit. Usability and
accessibility professionals are often mediators
for these issues. Involving groups with impair-
ments may not only provide increased accessibil-
ity but also increase innovation. Public policy and
legislation play an important role in contribut-
ing to increased accessibility, but only partly so.
Changing attitudes and values and showing good
examples of the benefits of increased accessibility
are also an important part of changing the focus
and goal of the development and use of IT.
Sweden is a country of negotiation and transpar-
ency, not binding legislation. Frequent evaluations
of website accessibility for Swedish public adminis-
trations have been helpful to bring attention to the
topic. However, in Sweden we need a more coher-
ent accessibility policy, and perhaps the proposed
action plan for e-inclusion within government will
lead to that goal.
[ 7] S wedish Code of
Chapter 2, Section 1/
[ 8] Web Service Award.
These actions are in the proposed strategy for the
delegation for e-Government [ 6].
On a related note, the Swedish Work
Environment Authority is the public authority for
questions relating to the work environments, both
public and private. Its goal is to reduce the risks of
workplace illness and accidents and to improve the
working environment, with a holistic perspective. It
acts to support the public-policy objective of a good
and developmental working environment for all.
Unfortunately, this authority does very little when
it comes to ICT and accessibility in private work-
places, as its main focus is by tradition on ergonom-
ics. It focuses on physically accessible workplaces,
but not accessible technology. When it comes to
accessible intranets at work, Sweden has in theory
a regulating law [ 7] but does not actively use it [ 8].
A much more active effort from the Swedish Work
Environment Authority, in cooperation with the
strong unions in Sweden, could increase the focus
on usability and accessibility in relation to work.
About the Authors Jan Gulliksen is a professor of human computer interaction at KTH in
Stockholm, Sweden. He is the Swedish expert in
ISO standardization on accessibility and human-centered design.
Hans von Axelson is a lawyer working at Handisam,
the Swedish Agency for Disability Policy
Coordination. He is the chairman of standardization
in eAccessibility within SIS, Swedish Institute for
Standardization and a member of SSR consumer
Hans Persson works at the Institute of Humane
Technology in Bollnäs, Sweden. IHT contributes to
the creation of general solutions from knowledge
about the needs and conditions of vulnerable
groups in the community.
[ 9] Swedish National
Institute of Public
Bengt Göransson is a usability designer and con-
sultant at Frontwalker. He holds a PhD in human
May + June 2010
According to the Swedish National Institute of
Public Health, close to 1. 5 million people ( 23 per-
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