The European Commission is launching a Call for Proposals for a Preparatory Action in the field of web accessibility requirements in web-authoring tools.

The Web Accessibility Directive establishes common accessibility requirements to make the websites and mobile applications of public sector bodies across the EU more accessible. Following the harmonised European Standard EN 301 549 v2.1.2 (‘Harmonised European Standard’) provides presumption of conformity with the accessibility requirements set forth in the Directive.

Organizations beyond those in the scope of the Directive are also encouraged to follow accessibility best practices and to conform to the Harmonised European Standard. By providing online and mobile services in a more accessible way, public sector bodies and private enterprises will reach more citizens and customers, thus realising the social and economic benefits of web accessibility.

Incorporating features in authoring tools or platforms to meet accessibility requirements by default ("web access by default") will facilitate the creation and maintenance of accessible websites and mobile applications.

This preparatory action will support the adoption of the accessibility requirements set forth in the Harmonised European Standard. To that end, grants will be awarded to proposals developing authoring tools or platforms that help authors comply by default with the accessibility requirements. The solutions proposed should be as automated as possible, thus minimising the need for technical intervention by the author.

Priority will be given to open-source or free-to-use solutions and to proposers involving users with disabilities, in particular in the validation process. The accessibility of the authoring tools themselves will be considered an asset.

The expected results of this preparatory action are the following:

  • (accessible) authoring tools or platforms that help authors produce and maintain accessible content for websites and mobile applications by default, preferably validated by users with disabilities;
  • easier production of web and mobile content that complies with the accessibility requirements set out in the Harmonised European Standard, thus facilitating compliance with the Web Accessibility Directive;
  • wider take-up of web accessibility resulting from greater awareness of its benefits;
  • enhanced competition in the market for authoring tools and platforms with accessibility features.

Total budget available: 600 000 EUR (six hundred thousand euros)

Maximum co-financing rate: 50% of total eligible costs

Duration of the action: 18 months

Deadline for submitting applications: 28 June 2019

Questions for this call should be sent to cnect-g3@ec.europa.eu

Downloadable application forms and model grant agreements available through the Funding & tender opportunities portal.