Web accessibility

Web accessibility is a moral obligation backed by political will and set out in UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).

Web accessibility is a moral obligation backed by political will and set out in UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) which requires that appropriate measures are taken to ensure access for persons with disabilities, on equal basis with others, to information and communication technologies, including the Internet.

Web accessibility enables everyone to perceive, navigate, understand and interact with the internet, including people with disabilities. Digital accessibility has grown in importance due to the rapid advancement of information and interactive services provided by the web and mobile devices such as online shopping, banking, public services, messaging and video-calling. When digital tools and services such as these are not accessible, many people lose the possibility of using them altogether.

Luckily, with a few simple changes, websites and apps can become more user-friendly and bring about improvements for everyone, not just for users with disabilities. For example, having the option to listen to text when there is insufficient lighting for reading, or having the option to read subtitles on a video in a noisy environment. Businesses that create accessible services have the potential to reach a much larger customer base with the added financial benefits that could follow. Approximately 100 million people in the EU have some form of disability and therefore represent a significant segment of the market.

The Web Accessibility Directive

The Web Accessibility Directive (Directive EU) 2016/2102) was enforced on the 22nd of December, 2016 to give people with disabilities better access to websites and mobile apps of public services. The Directive reflects the ongoing work by the Commission which aims to build an inclusive European ‘Union of equality,’ that would enable all Europeans to be equal participants in the digital economy and society.

The Directive makes it mandatory for websites and apps of public sector bodies to meet the following accessibility standards (with a minimal number of exceptions such as broadcasters and live streaming):

  1. The body must have an accessibility statement for each website and app
  2. There must be a feedback mechanism which enables users to flag accessibility issues or to request information/content that has been published in a non-accessible way
  3. There must be regular monitoring of public sector websites and apps as well as reporting on the results by Member States

The Web Accessibility Directive complements the European Accessibility Act, which covers a range of services and products in the private sector. Other European legislation also exists to support people with disabilities in various areas including audio-visual media services, electronic communication, eCommerce, ebooks and ICT equipment. Together, such policies can facilitate a more inclusive digital economy and society by improving accessibility of digital tools and services for everyone.

For more information, please visit

About the author

Justin Psaila is the UX/UI Team Lead at Deloitte Digital, Malta. For more information, please visit  

Fullwidth SCC. Do not delete! This box/component contains JavaScript that is needed on this page. This message will not be visible when page is activated.

Did you find this useful?