When you make the effort to produce accessible websites and apps, you might as well let the world know about it. This can be done by publishing an accessibility statement. Public sector bodies are legally required to publish such statements on their websites and in the descriptions of their apps.
What's an accessibility statement?
An accessibility statement is a page on your website or a part of the description of your app which contains the following:
- your website or app's level of accessibility and what standard it adheres to,
- how this was tested,
- which parts of the website or the app are not yet accessible and what alternatives are available instead,
- contact information for visitors who still encounter accessibility barriers.
A good accessibility statement is:
- easy to find,
- to the point and easy to read,
- honest and detailed,
- up-to-date: when a website changes, its accessibility may be impacted. Make sure to update the accessibility statement accordingly.
Contents of an accessibility statement
- Which website(s)/app(s) are covered?
- Which standard has been followed? (E.g. Web Content Accessibility Guidelines version 2.1 level AA),
- How did you test your compliance with this standard? Examples: a validation by an external expert such as AnySurfer, a link to your status page associated with your AnySurfer quality label, through collaboration with an recognised agency,...
- Which parts are not yet accessible?
- Which measures are being taken to make these parts accessible?
- When will they be accessible?
- Which alternatives are available in the meantime?
- The date on which the statement was published, and the date of the last update.
- Contact details of the department responsible for the site or app's accessibility, so visitors can send feedback when they encounter problems.
- Publish the information on a regular web page, rather than a downloadable document.
- Link to the accessibility statement in a logical spot, such as your website's footer.
- Examples of meaningful link texts are 'accessibility statement' or 'accessibility of this website'.
- Use clear language: people who turn to your accessibility statement are already experiencing problems. Don't add onto their frustrations by using jargon. Help them to find alternatives, or invite them to contact you.
- Be honest and detailed: vague promises help no one.
- The European Commission published a model accessibility statement for public sector bodies. Various governments have also published information such as the Belgian Web Accessibility Office and the Flemish government.
- Websites that have obtained the AnySurfer quality label have received a status page. Add a link to this status page to your accessibility statement to underpin your claims in an objective way.
- The W3C has developed a tool to generate an accessibility statement. Belgian public sector bodies can also use an assistant. The Netherlands have an accessebility statement generator, too.
- Read other website's statements to get inspired. In our opinion, the DNS Belgium accessibility statement is a good example.