UK public sector websites may be legally required to be fully accessible for users with disabilities following a vote in the European Parliament last week.
The European Directive on Accessibility of Public Sector Bodies’ Websites was first proposed last year by the European Commission.
MEPs voted last week to strengthen the proposed new law with more than 70 amendments, including extending the new rules to apply to all public sector websites.
The Parliament is also asking for the law to be applied to any “entities performing public tasks,” for example, outsourced public services such as public transport or energy utility companies.
Sites required to comply with the new rules will be closely monitored, with a public complaints system in place and high level fines for non-compliance.
It is proposed that websites covered by the new law would be given one year to adhere to the suggested regulations, which will cover mobile sites as well as desktop sites.
In other news regarding government guidance for UK website builders, Whitehall has announced the launch of a new tool which will aid the explanation of copyright laws.
“We want to make it easier for everyone to understand copyright law. Every day, people of all ages use photographs and images online through social media such as Flickr, Instagram and Facebook,” claimed Lord Younger, minister for intellectual property.
“But all too often people don’t know how copyright law affects them. They might be breaking the law without even knowing it,” he added.
The government claims the new “copyright notices service” is an innovative new tool that will enable consumers to clarify and simplify the complexities of copyright law.
The new site will provide guidance about things to be aware of when sharing images on the Internet.