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Websites without barriers

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Making content accessible to all users

Ever heard of the BFSG? From mid-2025 at the latest, it will be an issue for all companies in Europe that have a website or an app. BFSG, or the Accessibility Reinforcement Act, is a new EU directive to ensure that there are uniform accessibility rules for websites across Europe. Let's take a closer look at what this topic is all about.

Accessibility for websites

In general, barriers are obstacles that make participation more difficult. While awareness of barriers is increasing in the offline world, they are still often created unintentionally on the Internet.

Web accessibility aims to enable all groups of people to participate equally in web content. This means that all people can use the website without restrictions and without being excluded due to certain content or media. Or because of the presentation, preparation, accessibility or presentation of the content.

In the context of digital inclusion, accessible websites are a key factor that companies should take into account. Last but not least, accessible websites also have a positive impact on search engine optimization.
⁠In summary, “barrier-free” for websites means that the pages are designed in such a way that they can be easily used by anyone - regardless of ability or limitations.
⁠In future, a website must therefore also be usable for everyone with disabilities, whether in the form of visual or hearing impairments, motor impairments or cognitive impairments.

We now live in an age where there are so many technical possibilities that it no longer borders on quantum physics to modify a website accordingly.

For people with visual impairments, for example, there are screen-reading programs; for people with hearing impairments, subtitles or transcripts can often be a great advantage.

The presentations on the website should therefore be flexible, as this allows every user to adapt the content - such as font size, color schemes, etc. - to their individual needs.

Why is website accessibility important?

Quite simply, because inclusion and equality are not just buzzwords, but are about treating everyone like a human being and acting in accordance with the principle that everyone is equal.
⁠In addition to the central arguments such as inclusion and equality, there are a few other aspects, such as legal aspects - but we will come to these in the next section.

However, accessible websites can also be a means for companies to expand their user base. This is because they not only offer an advantage to people with permanent disabilities, but barriers should also be removed in the case of temporary disabilities such as injuries or emerging disabilities such as advancing age.
⁠Accessible websites can also have an impact on the user experience - because clear structures, simple navigation, fast loading times and a flexible layout can be the key to keeping people on your site and increasing satisfaction.

To summarize: every website and every app should be designed to be accessible and usable for everyone. The topic may seem complex at first glance - so it's definitely worth reading this article from mindshape, as it not only provides a further explanation of ours, but also a checklist for the design.

What is the Barrierefreiheitsstärkungsgesetz? 

The BFSG was passed and promulgated in 2021 and sets an important milestone in the requirements for participation in public life.

We quote here: " As far as products and services are concerned, the Barrierefreiheitsstärkungsgesetz (BFSG) promotes the equal and non-discriminatory participation of people with disabilities, disabilities and older people. The BFSG implements the EU directive on accessibility (European Accessibility Act, EAA for short)."

Products and services under the EAA are

  • ATMs and banking services

  • computers

  • Telephones and TV sets

  • Telecommunications services

  • transportation

  • Online trade

And there are clear and uniform standards for all of this, and we quote the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs on this too:

"So far, everyone who produces, sells or offers services in the European Union not only has to comply with completely different requirements for accessibility, in some cases the requirements even contradict each other. Clear and uniform standards should therefore strengthen the internal market and contribute to the greater availability of accessible products and services, including those that are affordable. This should also increase the competitiveness of German products. Micro-enterprises are exempt from the regulations with regard to the services they offer. However, they will receive advice on how to implement the accessibility requirements as far as possible."

So much for the new requirements for companies in the EU - and watch out: The deadline for the law is June 28, 2025.

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines - WCAG for short - have been around for some time and are a kind of checklist of what you have to adhere to and what changes you have to make.

It is based on 4 principles: Perceivability, Usability, Comprehensibility and Robustness.

The WCAG criteria are divided into 3 levels:

  • The lowest level A: This is about basic requirements without which it would not be possible for people with disabilities to use a website.

  • The second level AA: This is about making a website accessible to a large majority of people with disabilities. The first two levels can be achieved without great effort, and for level 3 (AAA), A and AA must already be fulfilled.

  • The third level AAA: This is the maximum requirement and the highest level. If a website were designed according to AAA, it would be accessible to everyone without any problems.

You can find out more about the principles, structure and criteria on the WCAG page of the Federal Government Commissioner for Information Technology.

Summary

The World Wide Web - a "place" where more and more information is accessible. So why not make it equally accessible to everyone? This justified claim is behind the issue of making websites accessible and also behind the requirements of the BFSG and WCAG.

Website accessibility concerns us all - for more inclusion and equality, but also to respond equally to different target groups and offer the best possible user experience.

You can find more articles from us in our blog.

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