New regulations, new requirements and updated standards

After years of complaints around why things move so slowly, many of our clients now struggle with the fast moving target of accessibility. This is indeed an exciting period in time for us who work with policy, standardisation and implementation.

Which requirements apply in Europe?

The short answer is (H)EN301549.
The slightly longer answer is:

The global standard on web accessibility WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) was published in a new version in June this year (WCAG 2.1). In this version, 17 new success criteria are added, primarily on mobile interfaces, visual impairment and cognition. 12 of the new requirements are at level A and AA, which is important if you look at the regulatory side of this.

WCAG is what that most people think of when they talk about web accessibility. But European legislation needs a European standard to go with it. The standard that applies as a minimum requirement for the Web Accessibility Directive is called EN301549 (Chapters 9, 10 and 11). EN301549 applies to all ICT, not only the web. Other chapters include, for example, requirements for vending machines, elevators and two-way communication. Version 2.1.2 of EN301549 was published in August this year and contains the new requirements of WCAG 2.1 on level AA.

On September 23 this year, the EU-wide Web Accessibility Directive enters into force. By that time, the European Commission has to publish the latest version of the EN-standard in its Official Journal, which means that the standard is considered "harmonized" and can therefore be used as requirements for legislation. The formal name will then be HEN301549.

What does the Web Accessibility Directive mean?

In short, the Web Accessibility Directive means that the public sector and some government and local government owned companies must:

  • comply with (H)EN301549 Chapters 9, 10 and 11 on websites, extranets, intranets, documents and apps
  • publish the status of accessibility in a detailed, comprehensible and clear accessibility statement
  • provide a function for feedback from end users
  • link to a complaints mechanism

Do you want to know more?

We provide training and support around the legislation and the standards. Do reach out if you have any questions.