Internet access for everyone
The concept of barrier-free access encompasses the basic principles and technologies which should be taken into account when designing, producing, maintaining and updating websites and mobile applications.
Perceivable: Information and components on the user interface must be presented to users in such a way that they can see them.
Comprehensible: Information, and how to use the user interface, must be easy to understand.
Operable: Users must be able to use the components of the user interface and navigation system.
Robust: Content must be sufficiently robust that it can be reliably interpreted by most user agents, including assistive technologies.
Accessibility at EU level
On 3 December 2016, the European Commission put forward a proposal for a "Directive on barrier-free access to the websites of public sector bodies (Web Accessibility Directive)". This is intended to help member states to meet their national obligations regarding barrier-free web access and put into practice the commitment of member states to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities with regard to the websites of public sector bodies.
The Directive came into force on 22 December 2016 and had to be incorporated in law by 23 September 2018. It encompasses all the websites and mobile applications of the state, federal provinces and municipalities and also of public institutions in the sense of Art 2 fig. 1, paragraph 4 of the Public Procurement Directive (2014/24/EU), provided this does not entail disproportionate expense and there are no applicable exceptional circumstances such as online mapping or non-barrier-free documents dated before 2016.
Accessibility in Austria
A number of measures were taken in Austria to implement the EU Directive. In Austria, public service Internet pages have had to be barrier-free in the sense of international standards since 1 March 2004, under Section 1 paragraph 3 of the E-Government Act (E-GovG), Federal Legal Gazette I No. 10/2004.
Under the Web Accessibility Act (WZG), which came into force on 23 July 2019, (Federal Legal Gazette I No. 59/2019), the Directive was implemented in full with regard to the state. The WZG regulates not only the requirements for accessibility as they apply to the state's websites and mobile applications but also aspects such as reporting and documentation systems, and how compliance with relevant standards is audited.
The body responsible for carrying out the tasks required under the WZG is the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (Forschungsförderungsgesellschaft GmbH FFG). A complaints centre has also been set up.