To support all website visitors your website must comply with certain legislations to be accessible.
From Monday 23 September 2019, public sector websites launched on or after 23 September 2018 must meet accessibility standards. This includes publishing accessibility statements, explaining how accessible their websites are.
The deadline for public sector organizations to make all existing websites accessible is 23 September 2020, and the compliance date for mobile applications is 23 June 2021.
The accessibility regulations build on your existing obligations to people who have a disability under the Equality Act 2010 (or the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 in Northern Ireland). These say that all UK service providers must consider ‘reasonable adjustments’ for disabled people.
United States of America
“ADA” is an acronym for the Americans with Disabilities Act, which requires businesses and website owners to make accommodations for people with disabilities in all their web content. That is, all web content should be accessible to the blind, deaf, and those who must navigate by voice, screen readers or other assistive technologies. This law has been in force for over a decade but has been fairly dormant until 2018 when a supreme court judgment was passed on a website owner for non-compliance. This caused a sudden surge in businesses and website owners being sued for non-compliance with ADA.
In 1998, Congress amended the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to require Federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology (EIT) accessible to people with disabilities. The law (29 U.S.C § 794 (d)) applies to all Federal agencies when they develop, procure, maintain, or use electronic and information technology. Under Section 508, agencies must give disabled employees and members of the public access to information comparable to the access available to others.
The Canadian Human Rights Act of 1977 was enacted to prohibit discrimination in many forms. While it did not specifically address accessibility requirements, it has been interpreted as such to require websites to make sure that organizations provide accessible content to persons with disabilities. This includes employment listings and access to other web content.
In 2010, the Australian government’s Web Accessibility National Transition Strategy required all Australian government agencies to meet WCAG 2.0 Level AA.
Requirements of this act, including web accessibility, will likely follow WCAG. Organizations under federal jurisdiction are required to comply, or face a fine of up to $250,000.
All the official websites of the EU institutions should follow international guidelines for accessible web content. This means that texts, images, forms, sounds, etc. should be accessible and understandable by as many people as possible without discrimination.
The “top-level” pages of Europa follow the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) (version 2.0), level AA, issued by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) as part of the web accessibility initiative.
The videos and documents in Word or PDF format used on some pages might not be optimised in terms of accessibility.