Nowadays, the Internet has a central role in our lives. Information, shopping, bureaucratic procedures, job, social interactions, movies and TV series, music: there are so many things we use the web for, saving time, money and energy. So, it’s essential to invest seriously in an accessible web.
The right to access the Internet is being included in the Constitution of many countries and, in the last years, Italy started a path towards this directions as well, coming to define the “Declaration of the Rights on the Internet”, a document where you can read, among other things:
Accessing the Internet is a fundamental right of the person and a condition for his full individual and social development. Each person has equal right to access the Internet in conditions of parity, in technologically appropriate and updated ways, in order to remove each and every economic and social obstacle.
We have presented many initiatives aiming to guarantee an accessible web to all the users. A few days ago, the European Parliament approved, with a landslide majority, the “Directive about the web accessibility”, a law that specifically aims to allow everyone, including elderly and disabled people, to easily access the web, paying particular attention to the public administration websites.
The directive particularly applies to the websites and apps for mobile devices of: public administration offices, courts, police departments, public hospitals, universities and libraries. These institutions will have to give and regularly update a “detailed accessibility declaration” about the compliance of their websites and mobile apps with the directive, including an explanation of any inaccessible content part and detailing the reason why they aren’t accessible too. Moreover, the users must have the opportunity, through a feedback feature, to point out any issue and request for information about the inaccessible content.
This is a needed action, since, today, in the EU live about 80 million of people with a disability or difficult to access the web. The directive will enter into force within 20 days from the approval and the member States will have, since then, 21 months to comply with it. Then, within a year, all the new websites of the public administrations went “live” in the EU must be accessible. The existing websites will have 2 years to comply, while the mobile apps will have 33 months.
Not such a short time, indeed, mostly if we consider how quickly the web evolves. But this directive represents, however, an important step forward towards a web that could be accessible for everyone, thanks to the efforts of the EDF (European Disability Forum).