Austrian Web Accessibility Act (WZG) – Essentials to remediate website accessibility!
The Web Accessibility Act (WZG) for Austria was enacted in July 2019 to set a legal obligation for all public entities to make their digital products and services accessible. This act is an extended implementation of the EU’s Web Accessibility Directive (WAD) 2016/2102, which applies to all member states of the European Union.
The accessibility act WZG stipulates that each website in Austria must comply with WCAG 2.1 conformance level AA standards. The idea behind this implementation is clear that nobody gets excluded from the necessary usage of required digital products and services.
Most importantly, EU Directive 2019/882 (European Accessibility Act) will come into force in 2025 across Europe. Then the act will impact all organizations that offer digital services or products. Therefore, Austrian organizations must begin applying WCAG 2.1 AA standards along with EN 301 549 requirements to ensure their digital products’ accessibility.
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The WZG requirements for web accessibilityThe act applies to the websites and mobile applications of the Confederation and all other establishments including the federal government and other institutions. It does not apply to,sites and mobile applications of the Confederation and all other establishments including the federal government and other institutions.
It does not apply to,
- Office application format files that were published before September 23, 2018, and if their content is not crucial for any ongoing administrative proceedings.
- Time-based pre-recorded media (video and audio) published before September 23, 2020.
- Live time-based media.
- Online map services/maps (if they provide other accessible means to provide essential information).
- Third-party content that is not developed, controlled, or funded by government entities.
- Content that is only available to a closed group of people and not important to the public; also, if it is published before September 23, 2019Post this date, every website including these closed groups are encouraged to incorporate the accessibility act.
- Educational institutions' websites and mobile applications including schools, kindergartens, and crèches (if they are not useful for any administrative or legal purpose).
- Archive content, which is not required for any administrative purpose, nor has it been updated or revised after September 23, 2019.
Other points to remember:
- All websites and mobile applications must be perceptible, operable, comprehensible, and robust.
- Legal entities must publish and maintain a detailed and clear accessibility statement of their websites and mobile applications in an accessible format. Optional content should also be mentioned in the statement that goes beyond the mandatory accessibility requirements set by the European Commission.
- Legal entities must examine all complaints about accessibility issues and if they are justified, on-time actions must be taken as per proposed recommendations to eliminate the deficiencies.
- Organizations should coordinate regular training programs for stakeholders and staff members who continuously work on websites/applications to add, delete, or edit content.
- Deadlines to meet accessibility requirements - Websites and applications assigned to the Confederation must be accessible if they have not been published before September 23, 2018, and all mobile applications that are published from June 23, 2021.
Read the entire legal provision of the Web Accessibility Act.
Accessibility monitoring methodology and reporting modalities
Websites and mobile applications of all member states’ public sector bodies ought to comply with accessibility monitoring methodology and reporting modalities. The Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2018/1524 of October 11, 2018, lays down this methodology for website and mobile application compliance, which is set out in Article 4 of Directive (EU) 2016/2102. Also, the modalities for reporting to the Commission on monitoring results, including measurement data, in a uniform way.
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Web Accessibility Certificate Austria (WACA) for Austrian Organizations
If an organization qualifies for a web accessibility certificate, it already fulfils the major accessibility requirements of WZG or WAD, which are:
- Conformance with the latest WCAG standards; WACA focuses on the website’s adherence to WCAG 2.1 level AA standards.
- Easy access for users to submit feedback if they find non-compliance; WACA has this function. Users can report inaccessibility via a contact form attached to the WACA label on the certified websites.
- Accessibility declaration, which is easily visible on the website. More on accessibility declaration.
In Austria, all websites and mobile applications must comply with WCAG 2.1 AA standards. Although there is no fixed penalty mentioned, failure to comply with WZG recommendations will result in legal actions, penalties, and other consequences.
Thus, understand the key requirements of the Web Accessibility Act of Austria (WZG) and incorporate them as soon as possible to safeguard business reputation and enhance conversions.
Are your business website and other digital assets WCAG compliant? Or are you looking for guidance on WZG web accessibility standards? With a team of experts, we provide website accessibility remediation services including accessible website design and development, audit, strategy, website remediation, consulting, VPAT accessibility conformance report, PDF / document remediation, and support services that comply with accessibility regulations such as WCAG 2.0, 2.1, 2.2, Section 508, Austria WZG within your budget. Reach out [email protected] or request a free quote.