EU Web Accessibility Directive
What is the EU Web Accessibility Directive?
Who has to comply with the EU Web Accessibility Directive?
- State, regional or local authorities
- Bodies governed by public law
- Associations formed by one or more such authorities or one or more such bodies governed by public law, if those associations are established for the specific purpose of meeting needs in the general interest, not having an industrial or commercial character
Public service broadcasters or non-governmental organizations that do not provide services that are important to the public or specifically for people with disabilities are excluded from this Directive.
What web accessibility standards does the EU Web Accessibility Directive use?
The EU Web Accessibility Directive uses the European standard EN 301 549. EN 301 549 has adopted the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 which covers the accessibility for web content, electronic documents, and non-web software, such as native mobile apps.
WCAG and the EU Web Accessibility Directive
EN 301 549 covers conformance to WCAG 2.1 level A and AA, but not level AAA to enable a more seamless harmonization with other procurement standards. Web authors and procurement accessibility specialists, however, are still encouraged to improve and extend the accessibility of websites and apps beyond the outlined standards where applicable and relevant.
The EN 301 549 follows WCAG 2.1’s four principles of accessibility: perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust.
The information and user interface components of websites and mobile applications must be presented in a way that enables users to perceive them clearly
The functionality and navigation of the web and mobile user interface components must be usable.
The information and operation of the web and mobile user interface must be easily understood by people of differing abilities.
The content of the website must have the ability to be interpreted reliable across a range of assistive technologies, and have the ability to adapt to new user agents.
EN 301 549 also specifies the functional accessibility requirements for ICT products and services, including web content, which could be used in public procurement or to support other policies and legislation.
What does the EU Web Accessibility Directive cover?
- Non-textual information
- Downloadable documents
- Two-way interaction such as the processing of digital forms and the completion of authentication, identification and payment processes.
- Office file formats published before 23 September 2018
- Pre-recorded time-based media published before 23 September 2020
- Live time-based media
- Online maps and mapping services
- Third-party content that is neither funded, developed or controlled by, the public sector body concerned
- Reproductions of items in heritage collections that cannot be made fully accessible because the preservation and authenticity of the item may be affected or there is no effective solution to convert it into an accessible format.
- Content of extranets and intranets published before 23 September 2019, unless these websites undergo a significant update
- Content of websites and mobile applications qualifying as archives, meaning that they only contain content that is neither needed for active administrative processes nor updated or edited after 23 September 2019.
How to comply with the EU Web Accessibility Directive
1. Producing an Accessibility Statement
Public sector bodies within the EU member states must provide an accessibility statement clearly detailing their explanation for any inaccessible elements that may still be present on the website or application, as well as information on alternatives for access. The statement must also include a feedback mechanism that website users can use to provide information on accessibility failures, request for more information, and submit complaints.
2. Monitoring Accessibility
Conformance to the standards in the Directive should be monitored using a methodology that includes:
- the periodicity of the monitoring and website sampling arrangements;
- the sampling of web pages, of the content on those pages and of the content of mobile apps;
- a description of the way to determine compliance;
- where deficiencies are found, a mechanism to help public sector bodies correct them;
- arrangements for automatic, manual and usability tests.
The member states will have to submit a report on their web accessibility progress to the EU Commission every three years starting from 23 December 2021. The report should cover the information and results of the enforcement of the Directive and the content of all the reports will be made public in an accessible format. The application of the Directive will be reviewed by the Commission by 23 June 2022. Besides reporting on the progress from the monitoring activity, the report should also include
- A description of the mechanisms set up by Member States for consulting with relevant stakeholders on the accessibility of websites and mobile applications;
- procedures to make public any developments in accessibility policy relating to websites and mobile applications;
- experiences and findings from the implementation of the rules on conformity with the accessibility requirements
- information on training and awareness-raising activities.
What happens if you fail to comply with the EU Web Accessibility Directive
How Monsido can help your website comply with the EU Web Accessibility Directive
Each audit scans your site for machine-testable issues, provides detailed reports so you can review any errors that may arise, gives you targeted recommendations on how to address these errors based on the guidelines, and shows you your compliance based on levels A, AA, and AAA. You can track and prove your accessibility compliance progress via reports in the History Center. We also offer accessibility training to customers and support, all-inclusive, to ensure that you are well-versed in both automated and manual remediation methods, and are able to efficiently and consistently improve your website’s accessibility.
Monsido also offers free tools to complement your web accessibility efforts, including a color contrast checker for web teams to test out compliant color combinations for their web design, and an accessibility statement generator, which helps you meet the requirements of the EU Web Accessibility Directive by producing a public statement declaring your commitment to web accessibility.