The PBT database allows the users to have insight into how the barriers are handled. Further interaction is also possible, e.g. a user confirming that a barrier has been removed or a web developer searching for similar issues and how those were addressed. In addition, PBT also provides a powerful tool for implementing other aspects of the WAD.
3.1 Potential Synergies of PBT with Other WAD Requirements
The feedback mechanism of the WAD has the double function of providing an effective way for users to obtain information and services that are provided online in an inaccessible way and a channel for users to inform public sector bodies of accessibility barriers.
Reports from WADEX (The WAD Expert group) emphasize that the accessibility statement should encourage users to send feedback and that the process should be made as easy as possible . However, so far no particular advice is given on how the use of feedback could be promoted in practice. The PBT solution offers a cohesive framework for a user feedback tool with focus on automatic facilitation of feedback gathering and handling. This provides advantages for both users and developers. The tracking functionality will increase the user engagement.
The data collected by PBT can also support other aspects of the WAD. PBT will support barrier classification consistent with the WAD accessibility requirements defined in Articles 4, 5 and 6. Furthermore, the PBT solution will support filing of the complaints through the implemented enforcement procedures (Article 9). Accessibility reports that are not addressed in an adequate manner may be sent directly to the enforcement agency. Alternatively, enforcement agencies may use the PBT database to discover public sector bodies that do not handle user requests adequately.
Finally, the PBT database will provide a rich repository of data on the accessibility problems that are encountered by users, where the problems are most prominent, how they are addressed, etc. Such information will be valuable both for reporting, as well as for fine tuning of the evaluation guidelines and monitoring methodologies (Article 8).
3.2 Potential Challenges in Implementation and Use
The PBT implementation is not yet completed. A first prototype is available. User testing and improvements of the implementation are planned. To successfully establish a PBT service it has to give good support to the users filing barrier reports and it has to be easy to implement for the site owners.
Challenges include how to strike a balance between barrier details to request from the users and the ease of use. The PBT user interface must be accessible and easy to use but it should also allow users to provide all the details needed to inform the repair process.
PBT needs to take into account the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation and will for allow anonymous and personalized feedback. In both cases, issues of data protection will have to be addressed. One of the challenges is to avoid that users provide personal data inadvertently.
PBT may be implemented as a feedback solution by an individual website owner. However, the approach would be most powerful when adopted by a greater number of organisations – for example as a sectoral or national solution, or ideally as an approach recommended at the European level. This would allow PBT not only to function as an effective mechanism for submitting user feedback on a particular issue, but also as a tool for gathering important data to support effective implementation of the WAD at large.