So the German government commissioned the prototyping of a distress call app for people with disabilites. When being asked by the opposition in the context of parliamentary control if the prototype confirms to EN 301 549 (that is the European norm regarding accessibility requirements for information technologies), the responsible Ministry of Economic Affairs replies (translation):
"The concrete requirement to comply with the standards and directives mentioned would have significantly prolonged the development and subsequent testing phases, would have entailed higher financial expenditure and was not necessary for the demonstration of technical feasibility".
To sum it up:
- You are a part of a government that's part of an political union 🇪🇺
- Said Union has set itself a common standard as regards accessibility of public sector websites and apps 📱
- You want to develop a SOS app for people who are not able to call 112 and speak to the operator (that's the German emergency number, like 911 in the United States) 🔕
- You commission a company to develop a prototype for iOS and Android 🏗
- When being asked by the opposition of your country what technologies they used, you answer: "That was not part of the project" 🤷🏻♀️
- When being asked by the opposition of your country if the prototype adheres to the accessibility norms of the political union you are part of, you say: "compliance was not necessary", because you just concentrated on the receiving end of the distress call 🤔
This is really striking. How could the Ministry of Economic Affairs order a prototype for an app that is especially for people with disabilities and while not including the aptitude for disabled people in their definition of whether the prototype is working or not? When even a authority which - thankfully - is subject to accessibility regulations does not include these concrete regulations in a product evaluation, how is this to work in less regulated contexts (the private sector)?
If you want to read more (in German):