The European Parliament has approved the directive on making the websites and mobile apps of public sector bodies more accessible. This means that people with disabilities – especially persons with vision or hearing impairments – will have better access to the websites and mobile applications of public services.
The updated version of the directive adopted by the Council in July 2016. The directive will soon enter into force, and Member States will have 21 months to transpose the Directive into national legislation.
The rules encoded in the directive reflect the Commission’s ongoing work to build a social and inclusive European Union, where all Europeans can take full part in the digital economy and society.
The text of the Directive covers websites and mobile apps of public sector bodies with a limited number of exceptions (e.g. broadcasters, livestreaming). This is a crucial milestone to achieve an inclusive digital society in which people with disabilities and other users have access to online services and information on an equal footing to other people.
Member States shall ensure that public sector bodies take the necessary measures to make their websites and mobile applications more accessible by making them perceivable, operable, understandable and robust.
- For example for someone who is blind this will mean that public sector websites and mobile applications will have text alternatives for non-text content i.e. short equivalents for images, including icons, buttons, and graphics and description of data represented on charts, diagrams, and illustrations.
- Or for someone with dexterity issues all functionality that is available by mouse is also available by keyboard. This will help people using alternative keyboards and people using voice recognition. Content will also have to be well organized which will help users to orient themselves and to navigate effectively.