The University of Twente works hard to make its websites and (online) documents as accessible as possible. As an organisation that is partly state funded, we are very much aware that we serve the public interest. In your role as an administrator of the university’s web pages, this is something of which you should also be aware.
By applying the government’s digital accessibility guidelines (Digitoegankelijk), websites and web applications (online office documents included) become accessible to the general audience (citizens, companies and other governments), employees and students. People with chronical (e.g. from colour blindness blindness, hearing loss to deafness, several forms of autism) temporary (e.g. broken arm) or situational disabilities (e.g. play audio in the train) can have the same access to government information as people without these limitations.
As an organisation governed by public law, which serves the public interest and falls under the provisions of the General Administrative Law Act, the University of Twente must also comply with the Accessibility of Websites and Apps (Temporary Measures) Decree. (See also Article 1 of the Decree: https://zoek.officielebekendmakingen.nl/stb-2018-141.html – in Dutch only – which came into force on 1 July 2018).
The definitions (see above link) contain the elements which must comply with the rules of the Decree. These cover all content: the entire body of information that an organisation wishes to transmit on a website or app, including text, downloadable documents, forms and interactive elements, such as the processing of digital forms and the completion of identification procedures. Article 2 of the Decree lists those elements which are NOT covered by the rules of the Decree.
A phased approach has been taken to implementation: see Article 6 of the Decree.
- Websites published from 23 September 2018 are required to comply by 23 September 2019.
- Websites published before 23 September 2018 are required to comply by 23 September 2020.
- Apps have to meet the criteria no later than 23 June 2021.
Office documents on websites published before 1 January 2015 do not have to be made accessible. Documents published online between 1 January 2015 and 23 September 2018 do have to meet the accessiblity guidelines but only if the text describes a current administrative process. As from 23 September 2018 it is mandatory to publish accessible documents only.
In this respect, no distinction is made between internal (intranet) documents and external documents.
Comply or explain
Paragraphs 2-4 of Article 3 offer the option of refraining from applying standard EN 301 549 if this presents disproportionate problems for the organisation. You can invoke this option if you are convinced that the expected benefits of applying the standard are outweighed by the organisational or financial costs involved. In our accessibility statement, we refer to the large number of managers (over than 1000) and the same number of websites. From an organisational perspective, this situation ensures that the University of Twente cannot guarantee complete accessibility despite its best efforts.
Information on the website (and therefore also in Office documents online) must always be Perceivable, Operable, Understandable and Robust (POUR).
POUR in WebHare
what website editors can do
The University of Twente has drawn up a concise accessibility statement describing the current efforts to make www.utwente.nl accessible.