Accessible Websites Are Mandatory in Norway
This month a dream came true: I was able to publish a fragment (an lightweight article) about a topic that is close to my heart as a web developer in KATAPULT-Magazin:
»If a website is fully navigation-friendly with a keyboard, it can be used by most people with disabilities. For example, blind or visually impaired users cannot use a computer mouse because they would need to be able to see to view and select items. In Norway, public websites must be accessible in the same way as private websites. Companies are randomly controlled by the state “Directorate of Digitalisation” — if a Norwegian website does not meet the legal criteria, sanctions will follow. Scandinavian Airlines, for example, was threatened with a fine of around 15,000 euros per day because its new website did not meet numerous accessibility criteria.
In Germany there are only a few laws on digital accessibility. Since 2018, an EU directive has made barrier-free access to the Internet offerings of public bodies a legal requirement. However, there is no clear legal regulation for websites of private companies and non-governmental organisations. Although the General Equal Opportunities Act contains a ban on discrimination, if a complaint is lodged against a poorly accessible website, a court must decide whether it constitutes discrimination.
Accessibility should not be a privilege but a fundamental right. Therefore the new website of the KATAPULT Magazine will be barrier-free. It will be online in July.«
First published in issue 17 of the KATAPULT-Magazin.
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