We all know how frustrating it is to come across what sounds like a great app, website, or online service, only to find out that it’s inaccessible. Well now we can really do something about it.
The European Commission is determined to make Europe ‘go digital’ and plans to increase and improve online services. This sounds like a great programme – as long as nobody is left it leaves nobody behind. Everyone must be able to enjoy this new ‘Digital Single Market’.
There are 80 million people living in Europe with a disability, 30 million of those have sight loss. Accessible technology has meant that many blind and partially sighted people have been able to access jobs, lead independent lives, and participate fully in society. But we’re concerned that people with sight loss may not be able to take full advantage of the European Commission’s proposals due to the inaccessibility of websites, online services and apps.
The needs of blind and partially sighted people must be met by these proposals. We need full comprehensive legislation on access to online information and services (such as apps and websites) and a strong EU Directive on all public websites. An EU Directive is a form of legislation that is "directed" at Member States, including the UK. The directive sets out the objective or policy and then the Member States must pass the relevant legislation in their own country to make it law. The EU must publish the long awaited European Accessibility Act and ensure that blind and partially sighted people are not excluded from digital services such as e-payments, mobile banking and mobile health.
To join the campaign for an accessible ‘Digital Single Market’ and to stay up to date, please follow @euroblind on Twitter.