Austria - Article 21

  1. Is there existing legislation in your country to encourage or ensure that websites, in particular government, public service or other sites providing widespread services of general use (such as hiring services, travel, telephony, energy, education, employment, leisure...) are accessible to visually impaired people? Please be sure to specify in your answer to which categories of site the regulation(s) apply.

    Until now, legislation on the accessibility of websites is only available for the websites of the federal government.

    The principle of non-discriminatory access to information for people with disabilities is laid down in the Federal Disability Discrimination Act, article 6, paragraph 5.

    The Federal Act on the Service of Official Documents (Service of Documents Act) lays down the rules for the service of documents to be transmitted by courts of law and administrative authorities and states in article 29, paragraph 7 that "The delivery service (al 1) is to be rendered such way, that handicapped persons are guaranteed a barrier-free access to such service according to the state of the art of technology, as from time to time."

    The Federal Act on Provisions Facilitating Electronic Communications with Public Bodies (E-Government Act) rules in article 1, paragraph 3 that "measures shall be taken to ensure that official Internet sites which provide information or electronic support for procedures are structured in such a way as to comply with international standards for access to the worldwide web, including unhindered access for disabled persons."

  2. What are the standards that are used in your country to measure website accessibility?

    Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 (WCAG 1.0) of the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) are being used, however, it is considered to use WCAG 2.0 in the near future.

  3. Is there an authority in place to establish, measure and control website accessibility?

    The Federal Chancellery of the Republic of Austria issues reports on the accessibility of websites of the federal government on a regular basis. Until now, three reports have been published (2002, 2004, 2007).

  4. Is there a legal obligation to regularly review the accessibility of websites?

    No obligation exists. See also the answer to question 3.

    If yes, at what intervals?

  5. Is there an established timeframe for

    1. new websites to be made accessible?
      if yes what is it ?

      Newly launched websites of the federal government need to be accessible from the beginning.
    2. existing websites to be made accessible?
      if yes what is it ?

      The deadline for making websites of the federal government accessible was 1 January 2008 (E-Government Act, article 24, paragraph 2).
  6. What sanctions are imposed by the law for websites which fail to comply with accessibility regulations?

    The Federal Disability Discrimination Act defines an arbitration procedure in case a disabled person feels discriminated against (article 10, paragraph 2). If the arbitration is not successful the person might become eligible for compensation (article 9).

  7. Is there a legal obligation to include awareness of accessibility issues in training provided to webmasters and related professions?

    No obligation exists.

  8. Is there a legal obligation on educational authorities to provide specific training on Web accessibility issues in related areas (such as engineering and computer sciences, telecommunications and networks courses, etc)?

    No obligation exists.

  9. Are there official guidelines in place to assist webmasters and technical staff in making their websites accessible?

    No national guidelines exist. See also the answer to question 2.

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