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The Brexit-effect on web accessibility

Date: Wednesday, 26th July 2017 | Category: , , , , , ,

Just over a year on from Brexit being announced, we are seeing the impact it has already had and is set to have on the UK.

But where does web accessibility fit in?

The economy and trade

The most notable impact on Britain’s vote to leave the EU was the results this had on the pound. On the day of the vote the GDP to USD exchange rate was $1.4877, but that figure currently stands at $1.29639. This is something that was predicted by many organisations with the result of Brexit as they feared that the UK would enter a stage of uncertainty. This has had an impact on small businesses as according to The Independent a record number of businesses have now been forced to raise their current price in order to meet their demands throughout the Brexit negotiations.

We have also heard a lot about the effect it is set to have on trade. The London School of Economics and Political Science has reported that over half of the UK’s trade is based around the European Union; which is why many people are hoping that an agreement can be made within the negotiations to maintain some of the current trade agreements. A positive point to remember however, is that European countries who are not members have open borders and trade routes. Switzerland and Norway are two examples of European countries that are not members of the EU but have open borders and can allow for free trade.

Where does web accessibility fit in?

Web accessibility is the process of designing, developing and editing a website so that it can be used efficiently by people with disabilities. Sigma, who work with companies to help them understand the importance of making the web accessible for everyone, reported at the end of 2016 that the amount of people in the EU suffering from disabilities was approximately 80 million. The European Commission set a press release in 2016 which set out guidelines for websites to be more accessible to people with disabilities. This states that websites and mobile apps for the public sector must be more accessible. The United Kingdom’s decision to separate from the European Union single market should not affect the accessibility of websites, however once we are no longer part of the European Union, this specific law will not be enforceable.

“Internet access should be a reality for everyone”

Andrus Ansip, Vice President for the Digital Single Market

The important thing to take away is that the negotiations for Brexit will have an affect on the positioning of web accessibility but realistically, it is reasonable to assume that most organisations will not want to alienate any of their users.

People For Research have recently launched #MakeTheWebAccessible. This is a campaign organised in order to make companies more aware of how and what they should be doing in order to make their websites accessible for everyone.

Image Source: People for Research

The future? Only time will tell…

Speaking generally, the future impact of Brexit is very up in the air and it is currently dependent on exactly what Britain can negotiate through their exit up until the UK formally leaves the European Union on the 29th March 2019.

We are more than happy to help you make sure your website is fully accessible, get in touch if you require any support.