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All you need to know about The Web Accessibility Directive

Have you also heard about the new Web Accessibility Directive? Wondering what applies to you and your business? Here you’ll find a brief introduction to the subject and 10 tips on how to customize the accessibility of your website. 

The Web Accessibility Directive

The Web Accessibility Directive is a common EU legislation also known as the Web Directive. It requires public sector websites, e-services and apps to be accessible to all users regardless of ability.

The directive entered into force on January 1 last year. But there are different dates for when it started to apply practically. You can read more further down under the heading “When did the Web Accessibility Directive enter into force?”.

Who does it apply to?

The directive applies to authorities, county councils, municipalities and others that are classified as public sector. This also applies to certain private actors who perform services with public funding.

Who doesn’t it apply to?

The directive doesn’t yet apply to the private sector. But there are proposals to introduce accessibility directives that also covers private actors. Therefore, you can already now adapt your website and your digital services according to the current requirements, even if you work in the private sector.

Note! So far, newsletters are not covered either. Regardless, it can be a good idea to be in good time and accessibility-adapt to them as well.

When did the Web Accessibility Directive enter into force?

  • As of September 23rd last year for all new websites.
  • As of September 23rd this year, the requirements also apply to older websites. The directive also applies to documents, extranets and intranets.
  • Apps must be accessible from June 23rd 2021.

Why is the directive needed?

In addition to being a legal requirement, the Web Accessibility Directive is a human right. All people, regardless of medical, physical or mental disabilities, should have the same access to digital information and e-services on equal basis with others.

What are the legal requirements?

  1. The website – including apps, documents and pdf files belonging to the website – must be perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust according to WCAG 2.1’s principles. WCAG, Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, is an international standard for web accessibility.
  2. Visitors to the website must be given the opportunity to comment on shortcomings in accessibility and request that it be rectified.
  3. A so-called accessibility declaration must be available on the website. It’s a description of how the website complies with point 1. In the declaration, there must also be a link to the possibility of pointing out shortcomings in accordance with point 2. There must also be a link to DIGG, the Agency for Digital Administration. It’s here the visitor reports websites that don’t comply with the directive.

Want to test how accessible your own website is?

You can test Web Disability Simulator. Here you can experience your website based on various disabilities. Note! You need Google Chrome to test the simulator.

How does the directive affect our services here at Magnet?

As the new directive don’t apply to newsletters, it has mainly affected our event publishing tool Magnet. Nowadays, all event pages published in Magnet are accessibility-adapted. We are also working on accessibility-adapting our newsletter tool.

10 tips on how to start accessibility-adapt your website and event page today

  1. Describe with text all content that isn’t text. For example, add captions to all images on your website.
  1. Offer options if a recording consists only of audio or video.
  1. Text all recorded moving media, such as video, audio and animations, and visual interpret or offer alternatives to video recordings.
  1. Indicate in code what the different parts of each web page play.
  1. Create a flexible layout that works at a small screen.
  1. Use sufficient contrasts in components and graphics. Also use sufficient contrast between text and background.
  1. Make sure that you can increase the distance between characters, lines, paragraphs and words. Also make sure that the text can be enlarged without any problems.
  1. Give the user an opportunity to adjust time limits, pause, mute and unmute the sound.
  1. Write clear and descriptive page titles, links and headings.
  1. Enter the page language and language changes in the code. This makes it easy for voice services to decipher what’s on your site.

Good luck!

Do you want to learn more?

If you want to read more on the subject, feel free to look further at the link:

The European Commission presents the Web Directive on its web accessibility information page.

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"Magnet is flexible and easy to use. The fact that our members can register, or unsubscribe from events, means that we can easily administer our participant lists. I only see benefits. "
Francesca O´Brien Apelgren, CEO
Swedish Marketing Federation
Francesca O´Brien Apelgren, CEO, Swedish Marketing Federation

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