The directive applies – a reality check

As of 23 September, public sector websites in all EU member states that were published after 23 September 2018 are supposed to comply with requirements of accessibility for people with disabilities.

We conducted a simple sample survey in Sweden to see how organisations covered by the law are doing. The results are disappointing; we found deviations from the requirements in all 30 websites we tested.

Starting 1 January 2020, the Swedish Agency for Digital Government (DIGG), as well as all similar organisations responsible for monitoring compliance with the directive in each member state, will be begin doing the same kind of monitoring that Funka has done, to check the status of websites within the scope of the law. They will also perform more thorough tests. The results of these regular reviews will be reported to the European Commission.

But control alone can never solve the problem – it’s knowledge that is missing from both authorities and suppliers.

In countries that have had similar legislation for several years, it is clear that training and guidance are much more successful than just supervision and pointing out mistakes, says Susanna Laurin, Chief Research and Innovation Officer at Funka.

We hope that all monitoring agencies throughout Europe will have the opportunity and resources to focus on promoting activities.

Sample Testing

Note that we have only done a few simple tests, not entire audits of these recently published websites.  The survey also does not say how far from compliance a website is, only that we have found deviations.  Some of these issues are worse than others, but in this survey the goal wasn’t to point out specific problems, just to show that the public sector needs more support in order to reach a good level of accessibility for all users.