European legislation mandates accessible public sector websites and apps

By Shaun Gomm | 05/05/2016

The recently announced European legislation mandating that public sector websites and apps must be accessible should be welcome news to everyone in the digital and design communities. The announcement comes shortly before the 5th birthday of Global Accessibility Awareness Day and serves as a timely reminder that access to digital products and services is a right that should be enjoyed by all, regardless of age, socio-economic background, disability or assistive technology needs. 

Andrus Ansip, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, welcomed the agreement, saying: "Internet access should be a reality for everyone. Leaving millions of Europeans behind is not an option. Tonight's agreement is an important step towards a Digital Single Market, which is about removing barriers so that all Europeans can get the best from the digital world."

You can find more details of the agreement here European Commission Press Release

At Sigma, we have particular expertise in designing inclusive, accessible digital products and services. Our approach is grounded in working with and understanding users with a diverse range of disabilities, visual impairments, learning difficulties and assistive technology needs. For many of our peers, accessibility is an afterthought, but at Sigma we believe it is crucial to design inclusive digital products from the outset. 

We design to WCAG accessibility standards and we undertake rigorous testing to ensure the sites and applications we build are fully accessible to AA level routinely, or to AAA standard where required.  We also evaluate existing digital products and advise our clients on inclusive design and accessibility approaches so they can embed those practices within their teams.

We've recently been working with the inspirational Molly Watt, an inclusive technology evangelist who has Usher Syndrome, leaving her deaf and almost entirely blind, but who has been enabled and empowered by technology to lead a rich and independent life. Molly has been working with us to evaluate the accessibility of a number of websites and digital services as part of our ongoing client projects and our wider advocacy work in this area. She also delivered an unforgettable closing keynote presentation at our Camp Digital event in March this year. 

If you'd like to know more, please get in touch

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