The European Parliament has passed the Accessibility Act, which aims to make products and services more accessible in Europe. The Act is the first of its kind in EU history.
The Act mainly focuses on digital accessibility and excludes areas such as transport, buildings and infrastructure, as well as household appliances. However, understandability has been set as one of the four principles of web accessibility: This means that information and the operation of the user interface must be understandable.
In the Act’s annex, (non-binding) solutions to meet the accessibility requirement are proposed. These include:
- Provision of information, operating instructions, provision of services: “Using the same words in a consistent manner, or in a clear and logical structure, so that persons with intellectual disabilities can better understand it”
- Interface and functionality design: “Ensuring that software reacts in a predictable way when a particular action is performed and providing enough time to enter a password so that is easy to use for persons with intellectual disabilities.”
Inclusion Europe welcomes the Act as a step in the right direction to improve accessibility for people with intellectual disabilities. National governments now must make sure that the laws based on the directive will be as ambitious as possible.
The Act must still be approved by the Council of the European Union. After publication in the EU’s Official Journal, member states will need to implement the Directive within 3 years.