'Web-accessible' means a website or web-based service (including those designed for mobile devices and/or use) which is easy to browse, navigate, understand, operate, interact with and use safely, securely, independently, and with dignity by a person with a disability under all circumstances (including emergency cases).

This does not exclude the use of assistive devices or augmentative and alternative communication to achieve accessibility for particular groups of persons with disabilities where this is needed.

New ICT services and devices to access the web are being developed at a fast pace: for instance, recently, applications on mobile devices are more and more used to access the web. Therefore, web-accessibility refers also to the accessibility of any technology used to browse the web with the ultimate goal to provide information and communication to persons with disabilities on an equal basis with the others.



In an increasing digitalised society, more and more essential information and services are available online. To access them, persons with disabilities and older people require websites designed according to web-accessibility standards to operate correctly with their assistive technologies. Unfortunately, most of the websites, including public websites, do not respect those standards and a vast majority of the population is excluded from using them.

Meet Lars from Denmark: 'I tried to access a government website that showed a short video on how elections work. I could not understand the video because there was no alternative video with a sign language version.'

Meet Helena from Poland: 'Internet is great but I cannot access my bank account online because it is too complicated to log on to the bank website.'

Meet Stefan from Germany: 'On the radio, I heard an advertisement informing listeners of how to check electricity invoices online. I was interested and went to the mentioned website. However, it was a Flash animation and I am blind so my screen-reader could not read anything and I could not pay my bills online, like anyone else.'


On 3 December 2012, the European Commission released a legislative proposal on the accessibility of public websites addressing public sector bodies' websites, such as those of municipality services, those for income taxes declaration, job search services, education, health related services, etc. Almost four years after, due to the advocacy of the European disability movement, in October 2016, the Directive came to a reality with substantial improvements, namely:

  • A broader scope that covers all public sector websites, as well as mobile apps, which were not included at the beginning.
  • A robust enforcement mechanism that also enables a feedback mechanism for users to indicate accessibility barriers on websites and apps.

Final text of Directive 2016/2102 on the accessibility of websites and mobile applications of public sector bodies (in all EU languages) can be found here.

Click here for the EDF toolkit on the transposition of the Web Directive.

Key documents

The EDF's position on the web accessibility legislative proposal

Position du FEPH sur la proposition de directive relative à l’accessibilité des sites web

EDF Report: A Compilation of Resources on the Web-Accessibility Internal Market

Position du Forum Européen des Personnes Handicapées (FEPH) et du Conseil Français des personnes Handicapées sur la proposition de directive relative à l’accessibilité des sites web

EDF feedback to the implementing acts for the Web Accessibility Directive (in PDF | in Word)