AbilityNet is calling for the European Union’s web accessibility ‘agreement’ of 3 May 2016 to go further and include all public, private and third sector websites and mobile applications to be accessible, especially for people with disabilities.
When it comes into force, the directive will require EU member states to ensure that public sector websites and mobile applications meet European accessibility standards.
There is no mention of private and third sector websites and applications, which are much greater in number than those in the public sector.
The guidelines will include rules on providing descriptions of non-textual content for persons with visual impairments, or on creating content that can be better presented across a range of devices.
These requirements will make content more accessible and usable to a wider public, and will especially benefit people with various types of disabilities.
Nigel Lewis, CEO of AbilityNet said:
“AbilityNet wholeheartedly welcomes this recent move from the EU to ensure that public sector websites, intranets, extranets and mobile applications are accessible for disabled people, but it doesn’t go far enough.
“By including mobile applications into the scope of the directive, the EU has recognised the overwhelming popularity of mobile devices and that significant numbers of mobile-users will benefit from greater accessibility day to day.
“However, policy makers are missing a trick by not including websites and apps in the private and 3rd sectors. Their sheer volume vastly outweighs public sector websites and in our experience, they lag behind the public sector in accessibility terms.
“All disabled people whether they are in work, in education or at home will benefit from this renewed focus on digital inclusion from Europe and AbilityNet will be working in the UK to support the implementation of the new directive.”