Comparison of Accessibility in EU Public Sector Websites
Authors: Ana Kešelj, Petra Bego, Krunoslav Zubrinic, Mario Milicevic
Abstract: Web accessibility means ensuring that a wide range of people can easily access digital information and functions on the Internet. The European Parliament stresses that today the Internet is not only an essential tool for accessing information and communicating with others, but also tool for many other daily activities, as it allows access to many services. Therefore, it is very important in the process of enabling participation in democracy and social inclusion. The importance of internet accessibility is confirmed by various initiatives and programs, as well as laws and policies around the world that include implementing regulations for the accessibility of websites for people with disabilities. As a public sector organization, European Parliament has ensured to meet the current standards for its products and content, including those to be heard in the EU Web Accessibility Directive, which came into force in December 2016. The directive is based on the most recent version of the guidelines, the Web Content Accessible Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1, compliance level AA. According to the EU standard, users should atleast be able to magnify most of the website up to 300% without problems, navigate most of thewebsite using only a keyboard, and navigate most of the website using assistive devices such as a screen reader or magnifying glass. Most EU members, and the EU have committed to taking appropriate measures to ensure access for people with disabilities on an equal basis with others as of September 2018. One of member countries is the Republic of Croatia, whose Parliament has adopted the Law on the Regulation of Public Facilities with strict deadlines. Almost three years have passed since this law came into force and it is questionable how the law has been interpreted and applied to public facilities and services websites. This paper investigates the extent to which legislation has affected the accessibility of public sector websites not only in Croatia, but also in other EU member countries. Selected public sector websites from EU and EU member countries are analyzed using accessibility assessment tools and the results are compared and interpreted. The analysis considered the number of measures that each country has legislated.
Keywords: Accessibility, Digital Accessibility, Digital Inclusion, Legislation Of Accessibility
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