The Directive on the accessibility of the websites and mobile applications of public sector bodies (Directive (UE) 2016/2012), that has recently come into effect, has the objective of harmonizing national regulations, establishing common requirements on accessibility.
The maximum delay for Member States to transpose this new regulation to national law is of 21 moths (before 23rd September 2018). In the case of Spain, this transposition will replace Royal Decree 1494/2007.
In the context of Directive (UE) 2016/2012, accessibility should be understood as principles and techniques to be observed when designing, constructing, maintaining and updating websites and mobile applications in order to make them more accessible to users, in particular people with disabilities.
The four principles of accessibility are:
- Perceivability: information and user interface components must be presentable to users in ways they can perceive (see, listen, etc.)
- Operability: Capacity of user interface components and navigation to be able to be used by users.
- Understandability: Information and operation of the user interface must be understandable.
- Robustness: Content must be robust enough to be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of user agents.
So far, pending publication of new references to harmonised standards in the Official Journal of the European Union, the relevant clauses of European Standard EN 301 549 V1.1.2 (2015-04) should be considered as the minimum means of putting those principles into practice.
The accessibility requirements set out in this Directive are intended to be technology-neutral to not hamper innovation. In fact, Horizon 2020- The Framework Programme for Research and Innovation supports research on, and the development of, technological solutions to accessibility problems.
Websites and mobile applications shall provide an accessibility statement including an explanation concerning those parts of the content that are not accessible and the reasons of that inaccessibility and, where appropriate, the accessible alternatives provided for. Also, they shall provide, a link to a feedback mechanism to notify any failure regarding accessibility and to request non-accessible content.
This Directive does not apply to online maps a mapping services intended exclusively for geographical description, as stipulated in article 1.4.d).
However, when maps are intended for navigational use, like in the case of, for example, mobile apps that use route calculation or geolocation technology and help user to locate a certain place or to choose the most suitable means of transport to reach it; essential information as postal address or nearby public transport stops should be provided in easy and legible ways for most users, complying with the accessibility principles named before.
New measures adopted by Member States to comply with this Directive will apply to new websites 12 months after its transposition, to the rest of websites 24 after the transposition and to mobile applications 33 months after transposition.