Accessibility of Brazilian Federal Agencies' Mobile Apps: Requirements, Conformance and Response to Complaints
Keywords:Accessibility, Government Information Systems, Regulatory Compliance
Regulatory standards and legislation have been crucial to improving the accessibility of governmental services provided with information systems. Adequate accessibility of mobile apps involves using appropriate processes for procuring, specifying, developing, evaluating and responding to accessibility complaints. A previous study from the authors of this study has investigated the approaches to considering accessibility in procurement and specification of 24 mobile apps from the Brazilian federal government. The present paper extends the previous study, including an accessibility evaluation of 22 of the mobile apps that were still live and an analysis of how the government agencies responded to formal complaints regarding the accessibility problems encountered in their apps. The analysis of the procurement and specification processes was done on the responses to freedom-of-information requests. Preliminary accessibility evaluations were performed using an automated evaluation tool, and formal complaints were filed on the official ombudsman service of the Brazilian Federal Government. The first results revealed that only seven out of 24 mobile systems included accessibility requirements in their procurement and specification. Eight agencies explicitly stated they did not include accessibility requirements. Some agencies classified the information as secret or stated they did not possess the information. All 22 mobile apps live in 2021 had accessibility problems encountered in the automated evaluation. Sixteen of the 22 mobile apps reported had responses stating the complaint was forwarded to the development team for correction, while three did not answer the complaint, and three did not respond accordingly. Elements from the Regulatory Compliance Theory provided grounds to identify low levels of enforcement of accessibility laws and low deterrence. Some agencies indicated in their responses that moral obligation and legitimacy played a critical factor in favouring accessibility requirements. A higher level of willing responses to formal complaints in official ombudsman services showed that social control of public organisations behaviour related to accessibility is an important aspect to be incentivised to promote accessibility.
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