We all love an acronym, so let’s start with these three:

  • Web Accessibility Directive, the WAD,
  • Harmonised European Standard (norm), HEN,
  • Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, the WCAG.

Web Accessibility Directive

The WAD is the European Union's take on web accessibility. It legally obliges all public service web sites and mobile applications in the European Union to be accessible. This applies to all existing and new such content since the 23rd September 2020.

There is more information on the WAD available here and the legal text of the directive is available here.

Harmonised European Standard

A HEN is harmonised standard created by one or more of the three European Standards Organisations: ETSI, CEN and CENELEC. This is often done on the initiative of the European Union. There are many HENs, but the HEN covering web accessibility is EN 301 549 (PDF). Whilst it covers more than web accessibility, the part on web accessibility is more or less equal to the WCAG.

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines

The WCAG are set of largely technical guidelines authored by the W3C. They are published on the WAI section of the W3C. The latest version of the WCAG is available here.