Web Accessibility Directive:
Frequently Asked Questions

These are frequently asked questions and answers on the EU Web Accessibility Directive.

The objective of this website is to support the implementation of the Directive and to provide reliable information and resources to those involved in buying, designing and monitoring websites or mobile applications, as well as users. This website is maintained by the Web Accessibility Initiative - Communities of Practice (WAI-CooP) Project.

4. Can you provide examples of accessible websites and apps?

Unfortunately, it is not possible to provide a list of examples. While a website or an app may be accessible at some point, we cannot guarantee that they will not be later changed in a way that makes them inaccessible.

8. Are there resources on digital accessibility in my language?

Yes, there are a range of W3C WAI documents available in languages other than English.

W3C WAI welcome help with translations, so if you want to get involved please get in touch with W3C WAI.

12. How do I start implementing digital accessibility?

To get started, read this introduction to web accessibility. The W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) has a range of resources for designers and developers including tips for designing and tips for developing, as well as resources to make audio and video media accessible.

For mobile applications, there are accessibility guidelines for Android, Apple and Microsoft.

You will need to integrate accessibility throughout your project planning. Key steps to consider include:

WAI has some tips on planning and managing accessibility in a project. We also recommend you learn about accessibility principles.

13. What resources are available to help design accessible websites and mobile applications?

The W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) has a range of resources for designers and developers including tips for designing and tips for developing, as well as resources to make audio and video media accessible.

Mobile accessibility is covered in existing W3C web content accessibility guidelines. There are no separate guidelines for mobile accessibility.

You can find more information on mobile accessibility, as well as guidance on applying WCAG 2.0 to non-web information and communications technologies (WCAG2ICT) on the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) website.

For mobile applications, there are accessibility guidelines for Android, Apple and Microsoft.

14. Where can I find information about web accessibility standards?

In 2021 the European Commission published a new implementing decision on the harmonised standard for websites and mobile applications that provides for the presumption of conformity with the EU Web Accessibility Directive.

The current harmonised standard is EN 301 549 V3.1.2 (2021-03) [PDF Document]; it is in line with the most recent Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1). Annex A of the document explains the relationship between the standard and the mandatory requirements in the EU Web Accessibility Directive. Compliance with the normative clauses of the standard as outlined in its Annex A confers a presumption of conformity with the requirements of the EU Web Accessibility Directive.

15. Where can I find information about accessible software / authoring tools?

Authoring tools are software and services that people use to produce web content. Examples of authoring tools include:

The W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) develops the standard called Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG). It is a companion to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and can be used to develop and procure accessible authoring tools.

WAI also has some tips on how to choose authoring tools to produce accessible content but warns that there is no single tool that fully supports production of accessible websites.

16. What should I take into account when procuring accessible websites and apps?

When drafting a call for tenders to procure ICT services, you will need to define selection criteria, award criteria and technical specifications, including accessibility requirements. One way to define accessibility requirements is to refer to the current European harmonized standard 'Accessibility requirement for procurement of ICT products and services' EN 301 549 V3.1.2 (2021-03) [PDF document]. Annex A of the document explains the relationship between the standard and the mandatory requirements in the Web Accessibility Directive.

European standard EN 301 549 was prepared under a European Commission standardisation request to provide a voluntary means of conforming to the essential requirements of the EU Web Accessibility Directive. Compliance with the normative clauses of the standard as outlined in its Annex A confers a presumption of conformity with the requirements of the EU Web Accessibility Directive.

You can use the selection criteria to set out your expectations from potential suppliers in terms of capacity to deliver digital accessibility.

You can use the award criteria to encourage suppliers to deliver a more accessible website and/or mobile application by providing additional accessibility features above and beyond what is required in the EU Web Accessibility Directive, such as those set out in chapter 9.5 of EN 301 549 [PDF document].

When reviewing tenders, you need to evaluate a supplier's ability to deliver accessibility, review accessibility in the technical specifications and award criteria and ensure deliverables meet the specified accessibility requirements.

19. How to consider accessibility throughout your project plan?

It is important to consider accessibility throughout your project development. Key steps include:

The W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) has some tips on planning and managing accessibility in a project.

20. How do I write an accessibility statement?

The European Commission published an implementing decision setting out a model accessibility statement for the Web Accessibility Directive.

The declarations made in this statement should be accurate and based on one of the following:

  1. an actual evaluation of the website's or mobile application's compliance with the requirements of the Directive, such as a self-assessment done by the public sector body or an assessment carried out by a third party, for example a certification
  2. any other measures, as deemed appropriate by the Member States, which provide equal assurance that the declarations made in the statement are accurate.

The statement should indicate the method used.

The model accessibility statement is described in the annex of the implementing decision. It includes mandatory content requirements and optional content.

The W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) has more information about accessibility statements and why they are helpful, as well as an accessibility statement generator.

24. Is there guidance on involving users with disabilities in design and development?

Involving users early on in project development is really important to understand real-world accessibility issues, such as how people with disabilities and older people use the web with adaptive strategies and assistive technologies.

The W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) developed resources showing how to involve users with disabilities in design and development, including advice on involving users in web projects and resources to help evaluate web accessibility.

25. How can we optimise websites and apps for older people with and without disabilities?

Designing products that are easier for older people to use is similar to designing for people with disabilities.

Guidance on how to make websites and applications accessible for older users is covered in existing international accessibility standards, including Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1.

Age-related impairments such as declining vision, hearing loss, reduced physical and/or cognitive ability can affect how older people use the web. These issues overlap with the accessibility needs of people with disabilities. Therefore, websites and applications that are accessible to people with disabilities are more accessible to older users as well.

The W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) has more information on their website about the overlaps between accessible design and design for older people.

26. How can we optimise websites and apps for people with cognitive disabilities?

Cognitive disabilities have an impact on how people process information. For example, they can affect people’s perception, comprehension, memory, language, attention and problem solving.

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 include existing requirements that address cognitive accessibility. The W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) also has additional guidance on making content usable for people with cognitive and learning disabilities.

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