An estimated 100 million people in the EU have some form of disability and face numerous daily accessibility challenges. In an ever-increasing digital dependant world, inclusion requires that the Web is made accessible to everyone, and that disability should not impact the basic human right of having equal access to online information and digital services. To this effect, The Web Accessibility Directive (Directive (EU) 2016/2102) has been in force since 22 December 2016 and aims at granting better digital and internet access to people with disabilities. To abide by this Directive, websites and apps of public sector bodies are obliged to meet minimum accessibility requirements.
Some basic features that the Directive stipulates include; an accessibility statement for each website or mobile app, a feedback mechanism through which users can flag accessibility issues and regular monitoring of public sector websites and apps. Locally, the Malta Communications Authority is the designated regulatory body entrusted with the implementation of this Directive and, for the past 2 years, it has been conducting testing and monitoring of public sector websites. In many cases, simple technical changes can make websites and apps more accessible and user-friendly, granting a better online experience to everyone, not just users with disabilities.
In order to review the Directive’s success, the European Commission is currently holding a public consultation. The aim of this consultation is to assess whether the Directive is still relevant and if it has effectively helped people with disabilities gain better access to public services and digital information. The public response is also intended to shed some light on the level of web-accessibility harmonisation achieved, and it will give direction on the shaping of further actions or initiatives in the near future, if gaps in access to online public sector content are identified.
This consultation is open to everybody – citizens, public and private organisations, industry representatives, trade associations, experts and academics. There are common questions for all and specific questions depending on the capacity in which the respondent will be replying. The survey takes around 30 minutes to complete.
Kindly take the survey and submit your response by following the link: -
A very short easy-to-read questionnaire is also being published, accessible to everyone, including persons with cognitive disabilities: -
The closing date for submitting a response is 25th October 2021.