The European Commission (EC) published the review of the application of the Web Accessibility Directive. The study evaluated effects of the implementation of Web Accessibility Directive. The aim was to assess the extent to which the Directive and its implementing decisions have achieved its objectives, conclude on the effects of the Directive, and identify key lessons learned to draw recommendations for future policy developments.
The analysis shows that the Directive has improved access to public sector websites and mobile apps in the last three years, though people with disabilities are still experiencing difficulties. It suggests that cross-border provision of accessibility tools is available and can be expected to increase. Despite all member states having set up a formal enforcement procedure and nominating a designated enforcement body, the use of the enforcement procedure has not yet reached its full potential. The review of technological advances showed that automated or efficient and easy-to implement means through artificial intelligence and machine learning is increasingly used in tools relevant for digital accessibility, helping to make accessibility easier for some types of content currently excluded from the scope of the Directive.
The study identifies the following key learnings and recommendations, which could be considered in view of future policy initiatives related to web accessibility:
- Shortage of digital accessibility expertise in both public and private sectors can be addressed by increasing training opportunities, introducing compulsory accessibility modules for information and communication technology (ICT) curriculum in universities, and professional certifications, including for people with disabilities aiming to work as accessibility experts.
- Raising awareness and promoting the use of feedback and enforcement mechanisms can benefit all stakeholders, by pointing out accessibility issues to public sector bodies and by making content accessible to users.
- Based on the analysis of monitoring reports, a clear reporting structure (for example, a common template) at the EU level should be introduced to increase the coherence of reporting among member states. This would make the monitoring exercise more efficient for reporting authorities and more consistent across countries. In addition, it will facilitate the comparison of the results and make it possible to measure progress over time.
- Refine the definition of compliance status in order to streamline the monitoring of member states and obtain more useful and comparable results.
Keywords: Europe, EU, Banking, Regtech, Diversity and Inclusion, Digital Accessibility, Web Acessibility Directive, EC
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