Accessibility Regulations: the mobile app deadline
In the run-up to the public sector mobile application accessibility deadline, learn more about how to make your app accessible.
23rd June 2021 marks the deadline for public sector organisations to have made their mobile applications accessible and to have published an accessibility statement.
The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Applications) Accessibility Regulations 2018 (“accessibility regulations”) were made UK law on 23 September 2018. The aim of the regulations is for public sector bodies to make their websites, digital services and mobile apps accessible. The laws apply to organisations such as local authorities, central government departments, universities and some NHS trusts.
The aim of the regulations is to make websites and apps perceivable, operable, understandable and robust to a high standard of accessibility. This is so that everyone can use them, including those with disabilities.
A really important part of the regulations is that organisations also have to publish and maintain an accessibility statement which explains to those who use the service the level of accessibility.
The deadline for public sector websites to be accessible and to have published an accessibility statement was 23 September 2020. The deadline for mobile apps is 23 June 2021.
What public sector bodies need to do to make their app accessible by the deadline
To understand why some organisations need to meet the website and mobile app accessibility regulations I recommend first reading the guidance on understanding accessibility requirements for public sector bodies.
Following on from this you should know whether the regulations affect you or not. Then there are 4 steps to ensuring accessibility which are:
- Understand how the regulations impact your organisation
- Decide how to check the accessibility of your mobile app
- Make a plan to fix any accessibility problems you find
- Create an accessibility statement for your mobile app
But why is accessibility so important?
Public sector organisations websites and mobile apps play a vital role in many people's daily lives. In this year alone we have seen how apps can have a massive impact on our lives. From checking when to take your bins out with the council app, to checking all things tax related with the HMRC app, apps are becoming an increasingly important part of day to day life.
However, research has shown that it’s often those who need to use those services the most who struggle to access them. It is important that public sector organisations take steps to ensure digital accessibility is in place ahead of the deadline, and to make sure there are no barriers that prevent people from using the key services that they provide.
For more information on the accessibility regulations please visit the campaign website. For further advice watch our Global Accessibility Awareness Day webinars to hear experts giving practical advice on improving digital accessibility across services and public sector websites.
Additionally, you can join the ‘Accessibility community’ on google groups for community support. You can also find information on the regulations at GOV.UK/accessibility-regulations and more guidance on writing accessible content on GOV.UK’s content design guidance pages.
About the author
Richard Morton, Head of Accessibility, Central Digital and Data Office (CDDO)
Richard Morton is Head of Accessibility for Government at Central Digital and Data Office. He focuses on building accessibility capability of central government and the wider public sector through Accessibility Empathy Lab sessions, clinics, training and testing, and the cross government accessibility communities.