ICT Accessibility and Policies

Rules on how digital communication and access to the Web should work.

ICT Accessibility

It is the goal to build user-friendly web-service offerings that can be used quickly, easily and conveniently by everyone in the same way.
Adhering to international standards, such as the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) Guidelines is by far more important than just for the sake of fulfilling legal requirements.

In order to be considered truly "accessible", it is necessary that web offerings can be used without difficulty and without help from others. Meeting accessibility requirements for people with special needs present a particular challenge for information and communication technologies.

Accessibility at EU level and in Austria

On 3 December 2016, the European Commission presented a proposal for a "Directive on barrier-free access to public sector bodies' websites (Web Accessibility Directive)". This is intended to support Member States in fulfilling national obligations regarding barrier-free web access and implementing Member States' commitment to the United Nations (UN) Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities with regard to the websites of public bodies. The directive came into force on 22 December  2016 and had to be legally implemented by 23 September  2018.

With the Web Accessibility Act (Web-Zugänglichkeits-Gesetz - WZG), which came into force on 23 July 2019 (Federal Law Gazette I No. 59/2019), the directive was fully implemented for the federal sector. In addition to the accessibility requirements for federal websites and mobile applications, the WZG also regulates measures such as reporting and documentation and checking compliance with standards.

Further ICT Policies

In order to make the most of e-government's potential, not only technical standards and compatible software solutions are vital, but also well-defined rules and regulations on how digital communication should work. These types of guidelines are referred to as a "policies".

Internet Policy

The Internet policy forms the basis for Internet communication between the federal government, provinces and municipalities, as well as citizens and businesses. This convention generally describes possible ways to harmonise communication between public authorities and citizens, public authorities and businesses, and between public authorities themselves.

Transfer Policy

The transfer policy governs what public authorities need to do when transmitting electronic data via file transfer.

E-mail Policy

The e-mail policy contains suggestions on aspects public administration employees should take into consideration when sending electronic data by e-mail. The goal of this policy is to define a minimum standard for public authorities when using e-mail as a medium. For example, contact with citizens should take place through a Web interface such as a Web form whenever possible.

Domain Policy

The domain policy aims to present a uniform Internet appearance of public authority Websites, as well as to guarantee that security and organisational requirements are complied with. Web presence must include legal contact information, a valid address and search functionality. Concerning the page layout, special emphasis should also be placed on the adherence to WAI standards for accessibility.

"gv.at" Domain Registration Policy

All public authority websites should use the domain "gv.at". This measure aims at building trust amongst users and ensuring them that the service or information on the respective site is official.