The WADcher Consortium consists of 8 organisations from 6 different countries (Germany, Austria, Greece, Italy, Ireland and Cyprus) representing a wide representation of Europe in terms of population, culture and economic power. The consortium is composed of three leading research organisations, two SMEs, two public authorities and one end user organisation. All partners have been involved in international R&D projects before and many of them have worked together in several of such projects and brought their collective knowledge into the WADcher project. The project was coordinated by the Fraunhofer Society.
The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e.V., Fraunhofer FIT
The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e.V. is a link between science and industry, between research and the application of its results. It was founded in Munich in 1949 as a non-profit registered association. The organisation takes its name from Joseph von Fraunhofer (1787—1826), the successful Munich researcher, inventor and entrepreneur. The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is an autonomous organization with a decentralised organisational structure, which currently maintains 66 institutes and research units in locations throughout Germany and other countries. The majority of its nearly 24,000 employees are qualified scientists and engineers. Its current annual research budget totals €2 billion, from which €1.7 billion is generated through contract research with industry and from publicly financed research projects, being the leading organisation of institutes of applied research and development in Europe.
The Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Informationstechnik FIT (Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology FIT) helps to shape the future with novel, user-oriented products. Fraunhofer FIT has a staff of about 120 researchers from Computer Science, Engineering, Social Sciences, Psychology, Business Administration and Economics. They work in interdisciplinary teams and combine insights from computer science and engineering with input from other fields. Our specific strength is a comprehensive user-centred system design process, from test and validation of concepts to the handover of sustainable and performant systems.
A product relevant to the project is the imergo® Web Compliance Suite, developed by Fraunhofer FIT. This suite is licensed worldwide to different Enterprise Content Management System (ECMS) manufacturers. imergo® encompasses a suite of tools that supports its customers when implementing Quality Assurance methods and processes targeted to Web Compliance. This suite is mainly used by its customers to test accessibility and standards compliance. imergo® is a product aimed to mobile and large websites offering an open REST API to interact with other applications.
The National Microelectronics Applications Centre LTD
The National Microelectronics Applications Centre (MAC) was established in 1981, by the Irish Government, to provide consultancy and complete innovative development and exploitation of electronic, software and e-business/e-government citizen participation technological solutions. MAC is an innovative SME with a 40 year track record of delivering to tight schedules with industry, SMEs and public agencies to assess and assist entrepreneurial and innovative technical solutions. To date, MAC has delivered 230 leading edge product developments, 35 Web/online services, 175 process applications, 490 consultancy projects, 33 pan-European technology development consortia and 3,000 new idea evaluations. These have enabled the growth of several multi-million Euro companies. We have completed numerous evaluations, studies and outsourced R&D projects for European companies where we act as the innovator and designer of their future services and product set.
The parallel activity of the company in working with entrepreneurs, SMEs, and administrations to deliver operational solutions, grounds this work in the real commercial world ensuring that MAC’s staff is a focused team of highly flexible, motivated, responsive, pragmatic and experienced technical, research and project management experts, who can both manage distributed outsourced development teams and its own in-house technical staff.
Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, Laboratory on Human Interfaces in Information Systems
The Information Science and Technologies Institute (CNR-ISTI) aims at increasing knowledge, developing and testing new ideas in ICT, and widening the application areas. The Institute is structured into a number of laboratories. The laboratory involved in this project is the Laboratory on Human Interfaces in Information Systems. The main goal of this laboratory is to investigate new solutions in basic and applied research in the field of human-computer interaction, user interface software and interactive information systems, in particular to obtain methods and tools to support user interface designers and developers to obtain usable systems accessible from different contexts of use.
One of the main areas of interest is Tools for Accessibility and Usability Evaluation. CNR supports various techniques ranging from intelligent analysis of logs of user interactions detected on the users’ devices to code inspection in order to check whether consistency with relevant guidelines. The tool developed for accessibility validation is MAUVE (Multiguideline Accessibility and Usability Validation Environment). It supports validation separated from guidelines’ definition, guidelines formalized through an XML language, capable of expressing all the past, present and (virtually) future accessibility guidelines, browser’s plugin for the validation of dynamically created/modified Web pages, possibility of analyzing the versions of a web-site specific for certain types of device (e.g. mobile versions, desktop version, etc.), potentially expandable as a system for continuous monitoring of accessibility of web sites’ sets.
Hilfsgemeinschaft der Blinden und Sehschwachen Österreichs
The Hilfsgemeinschaft der Blinden und Sehschwachen Österreichs (Austrian Association in Support of the Blind and Visually Impaired) exists since 1935 as a secular, non-profit association without affiliations to a political party or group. The goal is to improve the living conditions of visually impaired and blind people. At present, we provide support and guidance for about 4,000 members from all over Austria. Almost all Hilfsgemeinschaft activities are funded from private donations. Serious and transparent donations management is an overriding concern in our work. The Hilfsgemeinschaft has held the Donations Management Quality Seal since 2001. Membership is free for visually impaired and blind people, and enables them to access many services free of charge. Some of the key activities of the HG are:
- library for the blind (conversion to accessible formats)
- free Braille courses as well as computer courses (ECDL for blind and visually impaired)
- low-cost rental of CCTV (closed-circuit television)
- low-vision aids counselling
- in-depth conversations with psychological supervision, therapeutic art groups
- wide range of leisure activities (cultural, social and sports)
- lectures, excursions with sighted tutors, language courses etc.
- lobbying regarding the position of persons with disabilities on a national and international level, participation in conferences (ICCHP; AAATE, m-enable, …)
- cooperation with other national and international organisations in projects, laws, standards and regulations (AIT, ASI, AAL-Projects, etc.)
- running of a pension house in Lower Austria (100 beds) for elderly persons with visual impairment
Agenzia per l’Italia Digitale (AgID)
The National Agency for Digital Italy (AgID) is the Government agency responsible for the implementation of the Italian Digital Agenda. The Agency is the Italian representative at EU level, in the subjects of its competence. Furthermore, AGID promotes the definition and development of large strategic projects of research and innovation related to the implementation of the Italian Digital Agenda and in conformity to the European program Horizon 2020.
The Agency supports public administrations in their effective adoption and use of ICT, improving quality of services and reducing costs, with broad competences in e-Government, information society and technology innovation, including such areas as new generation networks, security, open standards, e-health, digital literacy, open data, online education, digital inclusion, and smart communities. It identifies and promotes the main principles and rules on interoperability, usability, accessibility, etc. to be carried out by PAs in order to implement and sustain in the long term concrete and shared objectives and actions.
DEXTERA Consulting Ltd
DEXTERA Consulting Ltd is a consulting and software development SME, specialized in the design and engineering of business intelligence and other decision support systems. DEXTERA was founded in 2006 and since then it has successfully delivered products and solutions to businesses and authorities in southeast Europe, mainly in the field of healthcare. The business strategy of DEXTERA includes research and development of advanced technologies, to create a bucket of solutions and products that would be useful to every business or authority, namely: Mobile applications, Mobile first web portals and services, Dashboards and visual analytics, Interactive Maps, Decision Support Knowledge Bases, Data warehouses, all aiming to support decision makers receive informed decisions in the area of their matter expertise.
DEXTERA disposes expertise in web and mobile development, but mainly in the field of visual analytics and business intelligence. Since many of the company’s clients are public authorities, the engineering team of DEXTERA is well trained and following strict processes on the compliance of their products with web accessibility regulations and best practices. The team is continuously experimenting with new web and mobile platforms, development libraries, content authoring and multi-channel presentation tools to assist decision makers take informed decisions within the context of their matter expertise, etc.
Hellenic Ministry for Health
The mission of the Hellenic Ministry for Health (ΜοΗ) is the provision of quality healthcare services to the general population in Greece. Under the supervision of the ministry, operates the Primary Healthcare Network (PEDY) with more than 1,200 primary healthcare centers around the country and 126 public hospitals with over 25,000 beds. MoH has an extended field of action, including management of emergency medical services, Public Health, humanitarian approach to victims of natural or manmade disasters, telemedicine provision, health coverage of major events and European cooperation.
The National Health Coordination and Command Center (EKEPY), which was involved in the project, is an executive agency of MoH and was founded in 2004, initially in order to cover the needs of the Olympic Games of Athens 2004. EKEPY is the main operational tool for the Minister of Health. The role of EKEPY is the supervision and coordination of all healthcare services (public and private), especially in crisis situations, as well as the recreation of National Health Policies (Policy maker).
MoH invests continuously in IT systems to manage and monitor the operations and cost centers of the public healthcare system, but also to provide quality services to the citizens. These include several enterprise level web applications and web portals providing crucial information to citizens who would like to receive healthcare services, but also to practitioners and administrative personnel. The departments of the ministry employ highly experienced personnel who are operating the aforementioned applications, disposing both technical and customer service skills. These people will be an asset for the WADcher project since they will be in position to handle to engagement with the citizens interacting with the web portals.
Centre for Research and Technology-Hellas (CERTH)
The Centre for Research and Technology-Hellas (CERTH) is the only research centre in Northern Greece and one of the largest in the country and it was founded in 2000. It is a legal entity governed by private law with non-profit status, supervised by the General Secretariat for Research and Technology (GSRT) of the Greek Ministry of Education and Religious Affairs. CERTH has important scientific and technological achievements in many areas including: Energy, Environment, Industry, Mechatronics, Information & Communication, Transportation & Sustainable Mobility, Health, Agro-biotechnology, Smart farming, Safety & Security, as well as several cross-disciplinary scientific areas. In 2008, CERTH was among the first Greek research organisations to undersign and accept the principles of the Charter and Code for researchers while at the same time CERTH’s representatives were members of the Greek delegation at the Steering Group for Human Resources and Mobility (SG HRM). Its latest achievement in the field of human resources is the “HR EXCELLENCE IN RESEARCH” logo awarded by the EC in April 2012 as a proof that CERTH is committed to offer the best possible working conditions, regardless the socioeconomic environment, and at the same time works towards the realisation of the European Research Area (Innovation Union, Commitment #4). In the WADcher project, the Information Technologies Institute (ITI) Institute will participate.
The Information Technologies Institute (ITI) was founded in 1998 as a non-profit organisation under the auspices of the General Secretariat for Research and Technology of the Greek Ministry of Development, with its head office located in Thessaloniki, Greece. Since 10/03/2000 it is a founding member of the Centre for Research and Technology Hellas (CERTH) also supervised by the General Secretariat for Research and Technology (GSRT). CERTH/ITI has participated in more than 175 research projects funded by the European Commission (FP5-FP6-FP7 & H2020) and more than 100 research projects funded by Greek National Research Programmes and Consulting Subcontracts with the Private Sector (Industry). The last three years, the Information Technologies Institute has attracted an income of more than 25.5 M€ from National and European competitive R&D projects. For the last 10 years, the publication record of ITI includes more than 270 scientific publications in international journals, more than 600 publications in conferences and 100 books and book chapters. These works have been cited in more than 6.500 times.