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Accessibility

European Accessibility Act in short

In the US, creators of inaccessible digital products can already be sued because of the Americans with Disabilites Act (ADA). For example a visually impaired user sued the company running the website of singer Beyoncé. Also the pizza chain Dominos was sued for its inaccessible website and mobile app (see 1. in References). In the EU there was no similar act yet. However, this will come soon with the European Accessibility Act.

Here is a very short list about the European Accessibility Act. If you want to go into more detail, I recommend to start from https://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=1202&langId=en

  • 2018 the EU agreed upon the European Accessibility Act.
  • Countries must translate this act into national law by June, 28th 2022 and apply this by June 28th, 2025.
  • EN 301 549 is the European norm for digital accessibility and it mentions Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) for how to apply this norm.
  • WCAG 2.1 (the most recent version) unfortunately focuses on web, version 2.2 is currently in the making.
  • This act targets more or less every app or website (see 2. in References)

Does my app have conform the EU Accessibility Act or EN 301 549?

Countries do not have to translate the EU Accessibility Act into national law yet. Therefore, this is not easy to answer as there are no court decisions making it possible to derive “best practices” or something like that. I guess we will soon have a situation similar to the introduction of GDPR. Hopefully, we do not get “Accessibility Overlays” or something like that everywhere.

To summarize: The best you as a developer can do now is to get familiar with the accessibility APIs on your platform and fix obvious problems.

In another blog post I put together a list of resources to help you with that: https://mic.st/blog/mobile-accessibility-links/

References

  1. https://www.americaneagle.com/insights/blog/post/2020/02/24/domino-s-beyonce-and-web-accessibility-what-you-need-to-know-about-recent-ada-lawsuits
  2. https://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=1202&langId=en

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