New accessibility regulations for public sector websites - are you covered?
There’s no doubt the internet plays a significant, and growing, part in the way we live. We book flights online, secure hotel reservations, apply for jobs, do banking, make doctor’s appointments and research the web for offers and information that is relevant to us. But there’s still a huge number of people in the EU unable to do this due to inaccessible websites.
. Things are about to change. From 23 September 2018 you’ll be breaking the law if your website or app is not accessible. There will be government checks to ensure websites and apps follow the rules in this Directive.
Meeting the standard
You must ensure that you ‘take the necessary measures to make your websites and mobile applications more accessible by making them perceivable, operable, understandable and robust’. You must ‘provide and regularly update a detailed, comprehensive and clear accessibility statement on the compliance of your websites and mobile applications with this Directive’. As Kelly Smith from GDS states, “Public sector bodies will need to evaluate the accessibility of their websites and mobile applications. They will then be expected to fix any issues and provide detail of this in an accessibility statement hosted on their website. If there are areas of inaccessible content, the organisation responsible will have to explain the way in which the content is not accessible and the reason for it. They will also have to provide accessible alternatives where appropriate.” Read about the GDS perspective here.
23 September 2018 - all member states must put the directive into law
23 September 2019 - all NEW websites and apps published after this date will be subject to the directive
23 September 2020 - all websites published before 23 September 2018 will be subject to the directive
23 September 2021 - all mobile apps will be subject to the directive
Get support to meet the new rules
Your website is probably the most important tool you have to communicate your services to your citizens. So you want it to be accessible to all of your citizens all of the time. Not an easy feat when your website is constantly evolving. At Texthelp, we’re constantly updating our website with news on our leading accessibility and digital inclusion software and articles from our customers as they share their digital journey’s with us. We share these experiences so we can all learn together - that’s us included! Our website is certainly not perfect but we’re constantly striving to be more accessible and to remove any barriers our audiences face when visiting our website. You can read more about our own web journey in our next blog. In the meantime, we’d love to hear about the steps you’re taking to comply with this Directive. Please feel free to add your comments below or contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
For further reading, here’s the legislation - EU Directive on the accessibility of the websites and mobile applications of public sector bodies. For something a little more digestible, read what our nordic partners Funka - who were closely involved in the development of the Directive - have to say about it.