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Chapter 12 – Accessibility Legislation


Thanks for your interest in the Abra kick-off training about the accessibility of apps. My name is Paul van Workum and I am working in the field of app accessibility.

Accessibility Legislation

Let’s explore the accessibility legislation. We will explain the UN Disability Convention and the legislation from the United States and the European Union.

UN Disability Convention

Let’s start with the UN Disability Convention. The aim of the UN Disability Convention, is to promote, protect and guarantee the human rights of people with a disability.

Basic principles in the treaty are accessibility, personal autonomy and full participation. It is important that the government takes these fundamental principles into account, when making policy and legislation. The treaty specifies what the government must do to ensure that the position of people with disabilities improves.

Most countries in the world adopted the UN Disability Convention. The EU did so in 2009.

Section 508

In America, there is a Section 508 which requires Federal Agencies in the US to make their mobile apps accessible for everyone. Section 508 refers to the WCAG 2.0.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) covers all entities, organizations, public, private and nonprofit. Excluding federal agencies. The ADA requires equal access to all goods services, information and communication.

Web Accessibility Directive (WAD)

For member states of the EU, there is the Web Accessibility Directive (WAD). Government and semi-government organizations must comply with the Web Accessibility Directive.

EN 301 549

Governmental organizations from the EU must work on complying with accessibility requirements from the EN 301 549. This standard refers to the WCAG 2.1 AA guidelines.

European Accessibility Act (EAA)

The European Accessibility Act (EAA) sets European accessibility requirements for a number of products and services. It is estimated that more than 80 million people with disabilities in the European Union will benefit from this new legislation.

The legislation came into effect June 28, 2022 and gives organizations three years to become compliant. It applies to services provided to consumers after June 28, 2025 and it’s related to communication, audio visual media, passenger transport banks and online stores.