This year, there are new regulations of what many know as UU, or universal design. This is an EU initiative that aims to ensure that websites are as uniformly designed as possible, and can be used by people with various sensory limitations of, for example, sight and hearing.
In the spring of 2021, Norwegian requirements about the implementation of WCAG 2.0 were tightened. Websites from public agencies have a deadline until the end of 2022 to get their pages completly in accordance with the standard, while there are slightly more spacious requirements for private individuals. But even though many of us don’t like to have constantly new rules over our heads, this can also provide opportunities and competitive advantages for your site!
The public sector is first, and now has deadlines to obtain accessibility declarations for its websites. On these pages you will also find a list of minimum requirements that are currently in the regulations.
"This is mainly about websites being as easy to use as possible, and being well readable", says Piotr Biernacki, business director in Ideo Solutions AS - Norwegian branch of Ideo Software. "We offer, among others, WCAG 2.0 compliance testing that can suggest corrective action so that websites meet the standard."
This doesn’t have to be major changes, but can for example be to insert an alternative with text where the text today consists of an image file. There are also requirements to be able to change the font size of texts, and a minimum of contrast ratio between texts and background.
More requirements for websites
"One should also, among other things, be able to give the user an alternative when content is presented as just a picture or just sound, in offering texting to video with sound - that is, simply creating a lower user threshold. And that is never wrong" – concludes Biernacki.
Much else that is required is something more and more people take for granted today, as we no longer have many "creative pioneers" with, to put it mildly, cluttered websites.
According to the regulations, sites must present “content and a meaningful order", and you cannot depend on a single "sensory property", such as shape, size, year, visual placement, orientation or sound in order to use web pages.
In short,the information on the page must therefore, be easily accessible to the vast majority, come in a sensible order, and be what it pretends to be. Among other things, all links on the pages must be clearly marked with where they go. In total, you must meet at least 35 of the 61 success criteria in the Standard Web Content Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0/ WCAG 2.0.
Many can feel overwhelmed. But the EU has put a lot of work into this, and thus it isn’t a big problem for professionals to comply with the regulations.
Websites designed by Ideo Software were honoured in the "Website without Barriers" competition. The competition promotes websites made in accordance with the idea of counteracting digital exclusion and discrimination in access to information.
Also for private
The Norwegian Directorate for Digitalisation is responsible for the practical implementation in Norway, and in May 2021, it has been decided that the EU's web directive will become part of legislation. The requirements, as well as the declaration of accessibility, actually apply from 1 January 2022, and the last deadline for implementation is 1 January 2023. But already today, 35 minimum requirements apply, and also for the private sector.
What about other countries? Will they introduce appropriate legislation and when? Or maybe there is no point in thinking about legal issues, but focus on the fact that such changes help to reach more potential customers?
You don’t have to look at this as a necessary evil, but rather as a springboard.
Those who are a little ahead here, can quickly experience a competitive advantage. The websites are easier to use, appear more clear, and provide honest information to customers. This in turn gives more customers who can use the pages. Additionally you will receive an official declaration of conformity, which shows that your website has passed the test. It will be like an extra "star" for your website.