International Accessibility Laws: The Ultimate Guide to International Standards & Compliance

  • GDPR

  • EAA

  • ONU

  • GDPR


The WCAG: Pillars of Web Accessibility

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, known as WCAG, represent the core of web accessibility policy. Developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), these guidelines establish the standards for web accessibility legislation globally, ensuring that online content is accessible to all users, regardless of their physical or cognitive abilities.

The Importance of WCAG

The WCAG are the result of the commitment of the W3C, an institution founded in October 1994 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). With the goal of promoting compatibility and standardization of web protocols, the W3C soon recognized the importance of web accessibility as one of its main areas of intervention. Thanks to the contribution of over 440 members, including companies, non-profit organizations, universities, and governmental agencies, the WCAG have become an indispensable reference for making the web an inclusive place.

The Evolution of WCAG

Since their first publications in 1999, the WCAG have undergone significant revisions, with version 2.0 released in 2008 and the subsequent 2.1 in 2018. The latter introduces important updates to improve access to web content for individuals with a wider range of disabilities, including those with visual, motor, auditory, and cognitive limitations.

The Fundamental Criteria of WCAG 2.1

  • Screen-reader Compatibility: To ensure access for the blind, sites must be designed to be fully usable through screen-readers.

  • Keyboard Navigation: Site navigability via keyboard is essential for users with motor disabilities, eliminating the need for a mouse.

  • User Interface and Design: The WCAG emphasize the importance of inclusive design, requiring adequate color contrast, legible font sizes, and other adjustments to facilitate readability and usability.

  • Prevention of Epileptic Episodes: Animations must be able to be deactivated to not induce epileptic seizures in people sensitive to certain visual stimuli.

  • Cognitive Accessibility: Content must be simple and direct or accompanied by support tools such as glossaries for users with cognitive disabilities.

Future Perspectives: WCAG 2.2

Awaiting further updates with WCAG 2.2, the W3C continues to work to expand accessibility, expecting to introduce new criteria that address emerging challenges in web accessibility. This constant commitment reflects the importance of adapting to evolving technologies and the diverse needs of users, emphasizing the goal of a truly universal and accessible web for everyone.


The European Accessibility Act (EAA) represents a milestone in European legislation to promote accessibility for the benefit of people with disabilities in all European Union (EU) countries. The primary goal is to enrich the lives of people with disabilities, ensuring barrier-free access to essential products and services. This translates into greater participation in daily routines and the workplace.

Key Features:

The EAA places particular emphasis on digital accessibility, ensuring that websites, applications, and other digital services are designed to be accessible to everyone, including people with visual or hearing impairments.

It covers a wide variety of products and services, ranging from mobile devices to online banking services, consumer electronics, transport services, and electronic communications.

It establishes precise accessibility criteria covering inclusive design, compatibility with assistive tools, ease of use, and clarity of information.

It introduces specific timelines within which companies and organizations must comply with the requirements.

Each EU Member State is tasked with appointing supervisory bodies to ensure compliance with the European Accessibility Act.


Adopting accessibility can expand the potential customer base of businesses, encouraging innovation and leading to the development of increasingly accessible products.

The EAA underscores the EU's commitment to a society where every individual, regardless of their abilities, can actively contribute to social and economic life.


The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities represents a fundamental milestone in the recognition and protection of the rights of people with disabilities on a global scale. Ratified by Italy with the Law of March 3, 2009, it emphasizes the commitment of the State Parties to ensure that all people with disabilities fully enjoy their human rights and fundamental freedoms.

A key aspect of this Convention is Article 24, which focuses on education. This article requires the State Parties to ensure an inclusive education system at all levels, promoting an educational environment that welcomes and supports students with disabilities. The goal is to ensure that education is accessible to all, without discrimination and on an equal basis with others, promoting lifelong learning and the opportunity to fully develop human, cultural, and social potential.

Furthermore, the article highlights the importance of lifelong learning, emphasizing the need for an education that accompanies the individual throughout their life. This implies not only access to formal education but also the promotion of non-formal and informal learning opportunities, crucial for social inclusion, personal empowerment, and active participation in the community.

The ratification of this Convention by Italy and other States highlights an international commitment towards eliminating barriers and creating a more inclusive society for people with disabilities, recognizing education as a fundamental right and a key tool for achieving this goal.


The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and digital accessibility may seem like two distinct regulatory areas, but there are significant points of contact that link them, especially when considering the common goal of ensuring that digital services are safe, accessible, and respectful of user rights. Here are some of the main points of contact between the GDPR and digital accessibility:

  • Privacy by Design and Accessibility by Design: The GDPR promotes the concept of "Privacy by Design," which requires that the protection of personal data be integrated into the design of systems and services, rather than being added later. Similarly, digital accessibility benefits from an "Accessibility by Design" approach, which envisages that accessibility is considered from the early stages of the development of websites, applications, and digital services. Both approaches emphasize the importance of considering privacy and accessibility as fundamental elements and not as optional additions.

  • Informed Consent: The GDPR places great emphasis on the informed consent of users for the processing of their personal data. For consent to be considered valid, users must be able to easily understand what data is being collected, for what purposes, and how it is used. This requires that information be presented in an accessible format, ensuring that people with disabilities can also exercise their rights in an informed manner.

  • Right of Access: Both the GDPR and digital accessibility regulations recognize the importance of ensuring access for users. In the context of the GDPR, users have the right to access their personal data and to receive this information in a structured, commonly used, and machine-readable format. Digital accessibility aligns with this principle by ensuring that online information and services are available in formats that can be easily accessed by people with various types of disabilities.

  • Security and Protection: The GDPR requires organizations to adopt appropriate technical and organizational measures to ensure the security of personal data. Digital accessibility, while focused on the usability of digital services, can contribute to the overall security of information systems by ensuring that interfaces and procedures are clear and understandable for all users, thus reducing the risk of errors that could compromise data security.

    In conclusion, the GDPR and digital accessibility share common goals of protection, inclusion, and respect for user rights in the digital context. Organizations that adopt practices in line with both regulations not only improve legal compliance but also the quality and effectiveness of their digital services, promoting a digital environment that is safer and accessible to all.