Web accessibility campaign
At last, Access Allowed!
After a long and hard-fought campaign the directive on making the websites and mobile apps of public sector bodies more accessible was published on 2 December 2016. People with disabilities – especially persons with vision or hearing impairments – will have better access to the websites and mobile applications of public services.
The rules encoded in the directive reflect the Commission's ongoing work to build a social and inclusive European Union, where all Europeans can take full part in the digital economy and society.
The text of the Directive:
- covers websites and mobile apps of public sector bodies - with a limited number of exceptions (e.g. broadcasters, livestreaming),
- refers to the standards to make websites and mobile apps more accessible. Such standards foresee for instance that there should be a text for images, or that websites can be browsed without a mouse, which can be difficult to use for some people with disabilities,
- requires regular monitoring and reporting of public sector websites and mobile apps by Member States. These reports have to be communicated to the Commission and to be made public. The Directive comes along with the European Accessibility Act proposed in December 2015 (press release) which covers a much wider number of products and services.
The directive was first proposed by the Commission in 2012. Following negotiations, the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission agreed on an updated version of the directive. After adoption by the Council in July 2016, the European Parliament approved the directive on 26 October 2016.
Member States will have 21 months to transpose the directive into national legislation, after entering into force on 22 December 2016.
Image used courtesy of Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com