European government websites not easily accessible for people with disabilities | NOW

A large part of the websites and apps of European governments is insufficiently accessible for people with disabilities. As a result, many countries do not comply with the European Accessibility Directive that was drawn up by the European Commission in 2016, research agency Digitaal Toegankelijk wrote on Wednesday.

According to the European directive, all national, regional and local authorities are obliged to make their sites and apps accessible. This can be done, for example, by making font sizes adjustable for the visually impaired and by offering subtitles for videos for the hearing impaired.

EU Member States must record how the accessibility of government websites is arranged in so-called accessibility monitors every three years. Digitally Accessible examined 26 of those monitors and concluded that virtually none of the sites and apps fully met the requirements.

85 percent of the sites and apps surveyed do not pass an automatic scan. An in-depth manual survey shows that 93 percent do not meet the requirements. Cyprus and France did not even provide an accessibility monitor.

The Dutch report describes that “the vast majority of the websites and mobile applications of the Dutch government agencies investigated do not fully meet all accessibility requirements”.

‘135 million Europeans offside’

Director Robert Keus of Digital Accessible calls it absurd that none of the EU Member States has the accessibility on its sites and apps in order. “More than 135 million Europeans had been sidelined by their own local and national governments,” he says.

Because there is no overview within the EU, it is also difficult to enforce in the countries, says Digital Accessible. “Each country has its own policy,” the agency said. “There is no overarching policy that helps governments on their way.”