Accessibility Statement 2022
Accessibility statement for Publications Office websites and content
Last updated: 20/12/2021
The Publications Office of the European Union is committed to providing all of our users with equal access to our information. With accessibility at the core of our framework and design, we employ universal design principles that ensure our websites can be viewed and navigated effectively by all of our users, regardless of the device they may be using.
As the official publisher of the European Union, we adhere to the Web Accessibility Directive (Directive (EU) 2016/2102) to ensure that European Union publications and websites are accessible to all users including those with visual, auditory, cognitive or physical impairments, as well as those who do not possess the latest technologies. Our web content can be accessed from a variety of devices such as desktop and laptop computers, as well as web-enabled mobile devices.
How we comply
- We meet at least the WCAG 2.1, level AA standard. This may differ for specific items if there are justified technical or practical reasons.
- We publish an online accessibility statement.
- We help users contact us to report accessibility issue.
- We include accessibility compliance clauses in all contracts with service providers for web development and the production of publications.
- We perform accessibility audits with internal and external resources.
New websites (published on or after 23 September 2018) – by 23 September 2019
Older websites (published before 23 September 2018) – by 23 September 2020
Mobile apps – by 23 June 2021
Web Accessibility Directive (Directive (EU) 2016/2102) does not apply to the following websites and mobile apps:
- Office file formats published before 23 September 2018 (unless needed for active administrative processes relating to the tasks performed by the organisation)
- Pre-recorded video or audio or other ‘time-based media’ published before 23 September 2020
- Live video or audio or other time-based media
- Online maps as long as key information is provided in an accessible digital way for maps for navigational use
- Third-party content that is not funded or developed by, or under the control of, the organisation concerned
- Reproductions of items in heritage collections that cannot be made fully accessible
- Extranets and intranets – websites that are only available for a closed group of people and not the general public, published before 23 September 2019, until they undergo a substantial revamp
- Archives – sites and apps that contain only content that is not needed for active administrative processes and not edited or updated after 23 September 2019
- Some labels are not clear. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 3.3.2 (Labels or Instructions)
- Some interface components do not have proper focus indicators. This fails success criterion 2.4.7 (Focus visible)
- Some error messages are not clearly associated with form controls. This fails success criterion 3.3.1 (Error identification)
- Some hypertexts and link phrases are non-informative. This fails success criterion 2.4.9 (Link Purpose)
- Some elements are not translated into the languages available on the website - This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 3.1.2 (Language of parts)
- Some images do not have a text alternative. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.1.1 (Non-text Content).
- Color contrast may be insufficient on some webpages. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 1.4.3 (Contrast Minimum)
- Some elements use non-allowed ARIA attributes and are not detectable by screen reader software. This fails WCAG 2.1 success criterion 4.1.2 (Name, Role, Value).
- Some features are inconsistently named. This fails success criterion 3.2.4 (Consistent Identification)
The mission of Publications Office websites is to provide access to official publications produced by the European Union. Different types of documents are published on our websites; e.g. official journals, legal texts, general publications, public procurement notices, etc. These publications are available in different languages and formats; they may be downloaded or displayed directly onscreen.
Our aim is to make EU publications accessible to all users including those with visual, auditory, cognitive or physical impairments. Full accessibility of some parts of the content may be difficult to achieve due to its nature and complexity; however, finding solutions to these issues are among our highest priorities.
The Publications Office offers accessibility guidelines to authors and creators of digital publications. For further information, please consult: https://op.europa.eu/en/web/accessibility
The 4 principles we apply when creating accessible websites and content:
Web content is made available to the senses: sight, hearing, and/or touch
Information and user interface components are presented to users in the most efficient way possible.
- Screen readers: Switching off the screen and trying to navigate through the page using only the keyboard and the screen reader output gives an idea of how difficult using the website is for a user with a visual impairment.
- Alternative text for images: All images, except those whose purpose is merely decorative, must have alternative text describing the content of the image. This description should be included using the alt attribute of the img tag. This attribute is read out by screen readers to users using assistive technology.
- Colour contrast: Vision impairments refer not only to blindness, but also to other types of visual disabilities like low visibility or colour blindness. Consequently, brightness and contrast are important considerations when designing an accessible website. A minimum contrast ratio (between foreground and background colours) of 4.5:1 is mandatory for all textual content, with the exception headings or large text where 3:1 could also be acceptable.
Interface forms, controls, and navigation are operable
Some users cannot use or do not have access to a mouse and rely entirely on the keyboard to interact with the web.
- Keyboard: All functionality (including links, buttons, input fields and other interactions) must be accessible via keyboard controls.
If certain elements are skipped while tabbing, or they do not receive focus in a logical order, the page should be corrected using proper mark-up (reviewing the underlying html structure, using CSS to control the visual presentation of the elements or adding tab-index attributes and ARIA roles when necessary).
Web browsers and operating systems also provide keyboard support, voice recognition (speech input) to operate websites and dictation features.
Information and the operation of user interface must be understandable
The language used and website functions should be clearly understood by most users.
- Page language: Specify the page language by using the HTML lang attribute (e.g., <html lang="en">). In pages with multilingual content, any element using a different language than the page default must also be specified. This enables screen readers to read aloud with proper pronunciation.
- Words: Avoid the use of ambiguous, highly technical or academic words; keep it simple whenever possible. This helps people who have difficulty understanding complex sentences, phrases, and vocabulary. In particular, it helps people with different types of cognitive disabilities.
- Predictability: Web pages appear and operate in predictable ways. Main navigation links must always appear in the same order, interface components must behave as most users expect, even for first time visitors, etc.
Web content must be compatible with a wide variety of browsers and devices, including assistive technologies
Parsing: In content written in markup languages such as HTML or XML, elements have opening and closing tags, elements are nested according to their specifications and IDs are unique (except where specifications allow otherwise). This helps prevent errors and problems with assistive technologies.
Name, role, value: For all user interface components, the name and role can be programmatically determined; states, properties and values that can be set by the user can be programmatically set; and notification of changes to these items is available to user agents, including assistive technologies.
Download our helpful quick accessibility check list.
Read the complete list of WCAG 2.1 requirements by the W3C.
Contact us to report accessibility issues or provide suggestions to improve accessibility. Please be as clear and detailed as possible so we may understand the nature of the problem, and provide your contact information so we may get back to you promptly.
In case of unsatisfactory response to your complaint, please contact the help desk.