AXSChat with Malin Rygg Head of the Norwegian Authority for Universal Design

AXSChat with Malin Rygg Head of the Norwegian Authority for Universal Design


Neil Milliken: Hi and
welcome to AXSChat today I’m delighted to have Malin Rygg as guest with us, Malin woks for DIFI which is the Norwegian
Inclusive Design agency which teaches everyone and also enforces inclusive design in Norway so Norway is an absolute global leader when it comes to accessibility, helps to have some oil money but absolutely and some absolute backing
of the government. I think it’s really
exciting the work that you’re doing, we met at the Funka conference in Stockholm a few weeks back and the running joke was the competition
between Sweden and Norway who’s going to be
more accessible and the consensus was you guys were ahead
at the moment so congratulations and can you tell us
a little bit more about the work of Difi and how you came to work
in accessibility because it wasn’t your
original career path before? Malin Rygg: Yeah well thank you
so much for having me, I’m delighted to be here and talk about accessibility I think it’s a really good initiative that we can come together and discuss so I think it’s an idea
across the borders and that’s why I enjoy funka as well because you get inspiration
from all over the world, there’s a lot of great
speakers there so and I’m very happy
to be here now to talk about
the Norwegian effort on Accessibility and I just want to counter
that about the oil money, I go around saying this is actually something
very business wise to do, it’s business wise
for you as a society and its business wise
for you as a business. Neil Milliken: Yes absolutely, so I was clanging teeth but absolutely but it
made good business sense, we make the same arguments
throughout the globe; both Debra and I spend
a lot of time talking about why accessibility
is good for business. Malin Rygg: We’re on
the same page there, well you know I have
a background in law, I was a lawyer
and then I was a judge and worked with the government before I started working
in Difi in 2010 and then I worked in procurement in another department but when we established
this new authority as part of Difi I was asked to edit and I’ve been doing
that since 2013. Neil Milliken: And what was
your interest in accessibility or was it here
this is a thing we’re assigning to you we’ll think you’ll do a great job and you had a steep learning curve or was it something you
was already interested in and that you would love
to get the role? Malin Rygg: Well I did love it
to get the role but to be honest I didn’t know anything
about accessibility I did put requirements
for accessibility in some of the procurement that we did before but I was not really
that interested but a really good
colleague of mine who was really passionate
about this area and who was you know asking me could I apply for this job and we would so much like
to get you on board here and then after that it was
a very steep learning curve but I’m very glad I did, I’m very happy to work in this area and I have a lot of really
nice colleagues. Neil Milliken: Excellent, I know
Antonio’s got a question. Antonio Santos: thank you so much
for joining us, like you were saying
I’m curious about the beginning, could you explain to us
how you built your team and going back to those days what kind of changes
has that team passed through? Malin Rygg: Oh yes that’s
a very interesting question, you know the first at times we refer to it
as university science I hope it’s okay, it was the first time
it was mentioned in a public report in 2009 actually and then they talked about
doing some regulatory things to improve universal design and then it would take some time and then we thought maybe
the market would do itself as it is business wise
but it didn’t happen, so in 2008 they passed
the indiscrimination law and then in 2013 the regulation and that was really hard work for a lot of people
to get this law passed. I came in 2013 when actually
I started the same day as the law was passed so then it was my job to try and put together a team that could work
with this subject as a feed of law
which is very challenging because it’s a new thing
or relatively new thing technology wise you know with new technologies
and different kind of websites and apps you know It solutions new ones
coming in all the time, and then of course
it’s a very new area within the feed of law
which is very challenging because it’s a new thing or relatively
new thing technology wise with new technologies
and different kinds of websites, apps and that sort of thing, new ICT solutions
coming along all the time and then of course
it’s a very new area within the law because it’s not like
we can just look at Sweden or Germany somebody else and say okay we do it that way so we had to kind of start with two bare hands which is how you can put it and how are we going
to go about this. Therefore very early on we set out to do at least two things
at the same time; we of course have to control this it’s the law it’s our task to control the websites and the apps also
the self-serving machines within our law. But then we thought
okay in Norway there’s a 100,000 businesses with 4 employees or more, it’s not like this law is applied to all companies, all businesses both in the public and private sector, of course there are 4
to 500,000 businesses in Norway but let’s look
at the bigger ones with 4 employees or more. How are you going to lift
100,000 businesses over on a new platform with WCAG
as a requirement, how are you going to do that? Are you going to go
about controlling one after one after one? You know you will never get
to the finish line so we thought we’re going to have to do a lot of motiving, work with guidance and try and make people understand this is not the only thing
you have to do it’s also a thing
that is smart to do, you should do it there’s a lot
of good reasons to do it. So very early on we put
a lot of emphasis on guidance and then we also thought we can go about controlling some here and some there but how can we make
the most effect of it? So we started from the very get
go to do surveys, make analysis and gather
data try to find out where are the biggest hurdles
and biggest areas, which ICT solutions have the furthest to go which ICT solutions are most important
for you in everyday life and which ICT solutions
have the biggest user groups so we could target our control mechanism as effectively as possible. So when we put together the team I actually hired people with a technological background preferably somebody who knew
about universal design but that was hard
in the beginning because there wasn’t plenty of people who had that background, then we put together people
from the law you know lawyers or previous and also economists people who could use statistics
and analysis as a subject and then we have only
two people working with communication
on our website where we put all our guidance and everything you need to know on how to fulfil
the requirements and then best practices
also our inspection reports everything is put on our website so we do a lot
of work there. Neil Milliken: I know
Debra has a question but before to just backtrack
on a couple of things I want to make it clear that you’re saying that you’re making all websites not public sector websites the law is that all websites must meet WCAG 2.0 AA you’re pretty much unique in that respect so credit
for you for doing that because most people have just left it
to the public sector and also last week
we featured Rama from the Royal college
of arts centre and we had a discussion
about universal design vs inclusive design and you’re talking about universal and he said universal
is impossible but inclusive is possible so some of it is semantics because you want to include
as many people as possible but I just wondered
whether or not you had any thoughts on why choose universal rather than inclusive? Malin Rygg: Well I don’t know
if it was more than questions so I don’t know how to start, to just start with the private sector there was a lot of opposition against applying the law to the private sector therefore they put a safety cloud so to speak in the law, it is said you can ask me or the authorities
for an extension and delay of the deadline in which you had
to be compliant, if you could prove it was
unduly expensive to and that was the kind of thing that made it fast also
for the private sector so now after three years you can ask me how many applications for exemption have we got
from the private sector. None
Neil Milliken: Go on how many? Fantastic
Malin Rygg. None so what I try to voice when I talk to
my colleagues in Europe that it is actually
it hasn’t been a problem and I don’t say this that it
will never be a problem maybe with some new technologies things
could be difficult and you could need some more time and of course we are open
to discussing it but it’s not like
we have had a ton of exception applications about everybody trying to get out
of this regulation, not at all we haven’t gotten one. We do inspections all the time and one of the inspections we did this year
was with a major bank which came out with
the best inspection results so far which is
a private company of course so I think it’s a bit overrated all this opposition against including the private sector because it has a lot of really I think good side effects for instance we see something
on the supplier side after this regulation because everybody is
requiring the same thing, everybody is supposed to have websites that are compliant with the WCAG but that doesn’t mean
it’s just companies that specialises
in universally standard that can offer this, big companies offer it as well, it’s more of a standard thing
to offer now so that brings me
to what your next question do we think by making all Norwegian websites compliant to WCAG all websites
are accessible? Of course not,
they’re not all accessible but they are one
step further up the ladder I would say, instead of having no regulation
and starting at the bottom maybe starting at step one or two, you do a lot of good work just by complying to the WCAG and then you should do
a lot more of course but then after you bring it
all to this level you can look at new standards later on then of course we get the side effect that people that start
to work with the WCAG and start to look at what users need, why is this regulation so and so, what is the purpose then they tend
to want to know more, they start to get the hang of it so that’s one of the side effects maybe you could say
is management now, how to deal with this
at some level like before when you could say it’s good
for your reputation or the right thing to do, now this is all have
to do so management has to somewhat
relate these issues so the awareness goes up. Neil Milliken: Sure, Debra? Debra Ruh: Thanks for being on today; we’re very excited
about you coming on to talk because it really is a best practice I know we can learn a lot globally but certainly in the United States. You’ve talked about some of the benefits
that you’ve seen, have you seen benefits in that were people
with disabilities getting jobs over overall
or specifically in the field so I’m just curious
about the employment benefits? Malin Rygg: Yeah I understand,
we haven’t done any surveys on that question
at the moment I know another they call it
(unrecognisable) here in Norway focusing on looking at those kind of effects so I don’t really have a good answer for you at the moment although this regulation
has been in place since 2013 we still feel
like it’s early days, it takes a lot of time
to implement it you know, at the moment only know
ICT solutions have to comply by 2021 it’s all. But now it’s only if you contract
was signed after July 2013 that you have to comply so it’s an up going curve at the moment it’s not everybody. Debra Ruh: And just to follow up
on that one thing that I see is leaders like you
and your country and your team you know a lot of times I know it’s an ongoing thing
none of us are perfect but you really get a lot of credit for all of the effort
that you’re doing, that you’re including the private and the public sector so we appreciate your leadership. Another question is one thing that we see all over the world is not enough people
that know how to do this, there’s not enough accessibility
technologists, inclusion, designers there’s just not enough people how have you dealt
with those types of things with corporations and businesses, public and private everybody tries to become more accessible
to the standard, how or are you dealing
with not enough talent that knows how to do these tasks? Malin Rygg: Well we try to do our best by providing on our website as much guidance
as possible for instance how do you do this
E-learning courses and different kinds of way to guidance people that are doing it themselves or mostly targeted on the people that are publishing things online. Then of course it’s the designers
and developers so we try
to target them also with different kind of conferences and things like that, but of course this is a problem, this is why we’ve been
very engaged in trying to get this
to different parts of education
and university science should be a subject
in different kinds of education we think an it’s one of the things we are trying to do
about it this year and we also work
with the universal *inaudible* N O who works
with universal design in higher education so we try to work very broadly have a very broad perspective both getting into education and we’ve seen master degrees on universal designs
picking up and both the ones learning
this from day to day and then try to give
a push to everyone who wants to go
for this with education and try to educate
more people. I must say in Norway with this WCAG approach
very broadly both private and public sector as I said to Neil before this doesn’t mean that every website will be accessible to all but it’s more of a balance between corporate interest in one corner saying this is expensive
we can only do so much and then the individual interests and the rights
of the people in the other, then we just said okay WCAG AA that’s the minimum
that’s a balance, it’s not a perfect solution
it’s a compromise and that’s why we as an authority is not an advocate
for individual rights like lawyers
for anybody else when we try to enforce the law we see it’s not perfect but it’s for the moment I think it’s a good compromise for the different
kind of interests. Debra Ruh: Okay so you have
made progress so good for you thank you. Neil Milliken: How do you use
your law enforcement powers against any particular not naming any organisation but have you had to use
the enforcement powers to make sure non-compliant companies or organisations make changes to their websites? Malin Rygg: Well we have done
inspections like last year and this year,
last years was the first year because there wasn’t as many
ICT solutions in 2014 and then we also had to develop
a test methodology so it wasn’t in existence
a test methodology that we could just use
we had to build our own from the very beginning but we’ve seen some deviations or non-compliance
in all our inspections but we haven’t issued
any order of correction which is our first sanction, we find non-compliance and if they do not provide a good plan
for how to correct it and when we can issue an order of correction. If that order of correction
isn’t followed up or the plan is never submitted or anything like that we can issue daily fines, the daily fines will then
just run and run and run until the fault is corrected but as we haven’t issued
any order of correction which would be the first act we have also not issued any fines. It’s not like we go out
and find a website and then find everything
that’s wrong with it and then just issue fines, we have a lot of dialogue
with business, we try to explain why
this regulation is in place and how they can also be
in a dialogue with them on how to correct it and so far we have actually had
very positive responses, they’re very positive that somebody should I say neutral is coming and checking
how things are going, so far we’ve probably been lucky that all the businesses we have met have
really been engaged in universal design themselves so they are glad
to get this report to sure the management
what we have to do next and how we’re going to go forward. We’ve had so much positive feedback from the inspections so far so we will see, of course we do
what is called risk based inspections so we start with the company that have big user groups that provide services that is important to you
in your everyday life like banking, transporting, public services and stuff, so we don’t go on
the very smallest businesses from the beginning
the nearer you come to 2021 where everybody has to comply
the more broadly we will inspect but at the moment we deal with mostly bigger companies which have more
resources of course. Neil Milliken: That leads me
on to another question which is around as you approach
your 2021 deadline you talked about testing methodology, surely you’re going
to have to ramp up the number of resources or deploy to be able to cope with the scales of all of those
smaller websites because once you get down
into those smaller companies they proliferate really quickly and you’ve got
a huge amount of work and testing to do. Malin Rygg: Yeah so at the moment we only test manually in both and in our surveys this is why we put so much effort
into our test methodology, we’ve looked at it from the beginning or from the get go
as interdisciplinary thing, it’s not only testing
whether or not you comply the WCAG of course itself as the core but it has to be looked at
as WCAG as legal text, when can we find somebody,
what is non-compliance? We have to go into
every success criteria and look at it very closely, if it’s looked at
from a legal perspective and logical perspective we can look at the techniques of course on how to solve
the different success criteria so we also include in our test methodology
statistical perspective and that’s with
the very distinct ambition to do some of it
automatically after a while, of course there are
a lot of tools there already we could of course
use them the thing is we want to know for sure how we test versus how we understand the WCAG
before we apply it so we are aiming
to publish our indicators and testing indicators
for the whole of WCAG later this year in order to get feedback
from people like you and everybody else
who would be interested to how we interpret the WCAG and build there on to maybe
either look at tools, building tools ourselves, maybe more tools
are offered in the market well that’s the next step, first of all we need
to look at our indicators to get a base to stand on but I do agree with you
we have to ramp it up we have to go through
a lot of more websites than we do at the moment and that will require
some kind of automated testing at least for survey purposes. Neil Milliken: Sure, Antonio I think
you had a question? Antonio Santos: Yes it’s related
to the fact that Norway and the large population has mobile devices so mobile is a very important fact
here so consumers people tend to use mobile
to purchase goods in order to be mobile and to consume information as well, is there any number
that you can provide us in terms of numbers of people in Norway using mobile to buy things online in terms of retail or just to buy
their own groceries and in those numbers when you’re trying
to explain business on the importance
of accessibility is that something that that see
immediately as a benefit seeing that the population is getting older and at the same time
is getting more wealthier, is there a similarity
in between the two? Malin Rygg: At the moment I think we should have the numbers for how much content is consumed
over the mobile phone but I don’t have it in my head at the moment
we can look it up and see if we can send you some but what I do know is that we have a company
called (inaudible) who did work
with universal design before it was
a requirement by the law, it’s not only just
to include more people but also as a second goal to tell more over
the mobile phone and they have success with that and they had some numbers
like clothing, sports clothing how the sales went up from 2012 to 2014 and much more of their sales go over the IPad and phones than before and that following the WCAG does help in making the site better and perform better
on the mobile phone so they did it
for business reasons as well as to be more inclusive. Was that a good answer
on your question? Antonio Santos: Yes I just wanted to ask what kind of engagement you had with the organisations working with people
with disabilities, what type of voice do
they have what feedback how all that engagement happens? Malin Rygg: Well we do of course put a lot of emphasis talking to the organisations that represent different
kinds of disabilities, the association of the blind and the association of the I don’t know the English term for everybody but it’s we do in September
every year dialogue meetings with all the organisations in Norway and also do dialogue associations for the businesses and other organisations that have something to do with this area especially we’ve talked several times to the organisation
for the elderly which we had a very good
corporation with them and of course
it’s important for us what do their members tell them about their biggest obstacles to use digital services, that I think is very
important information for us when targeting what we are
going to test for instance. Antonio Santos: Neil do you
have a question? You are on mute. Neil Milliken: I do have a question
before we finish up and I think we are approaching
our end of time. So obviously you’ve
talked about the fact that you have responsibilities
for terminals and kiosk’s as well, Antonio’s just mentioned the sort of elephant
in the room as far as WCAG is concerned
which is mobile because WCAG was written pretty much before mobile and smartphones were well maybe
not in Scandinavia because you’re early adopters but and there was a bit
of mobile powerhouse before far away from you
in Finland at the time but parts of WCAG don’t work so what do you do in situations where the technology
doesn’t allow for WCAG so are you developing
your own methodologies for that part of
your remit as well? Malin Rygg: Well at the moment we haven’t started doing inspections on apps and mobile phone, what we tend to do is look
at the purpose of the law, what is the purpose of it? It’s of course to include
as many as possible and that will guide us when we look at the mobile
phone I think. So we have to look at that when we start our next chapter
of test methodology but of course if it is impossible to meet the requirement or it doesn’t make sense we won’t enforce it in that way but what we will do
is propose legislation change
to the legislation because I think that’s key
for us at all stages of the system requirements or that the regulation is up to date
with new technologies. There might be something next year but not at the moment so far so we have to keep a keen eye on all kinds
of technology development and just come up
with good suggestions for changing the legislation with the some
representative in mind to include as many
people as possible. Neil Milliken: Excellent, I think
we’re at the end of our half hour so thank you very much, it’s been fascinating I know I want to share this talk with a lot of my colleagues as we work for
an international company and I want to share
with them your feedback about most companies actually don’t resist which is great in the end, you have mentioned you have (inaudible) working for you are you planning to publish all of your finding
and data in English because I couldn’t
see it on the website as I’m not great with my Norwegian. Malin Rygg: I would love
to have a lot more of our content in English, at the moment it’s a resource question but we do have a report
that we can share with you on our status survey from 2014 just to show you that is translated in English so it will give you
an overview of their status in Norway as the legislation took effect so that
is what we have so far. Neil Milliken: That’s great; it’s been a pleasure
talking to you. Malin Rygg: Thank you,
its great being here.

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