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    What Companies Need to Know about Italy’s Digital Accessibility Law

    by UsableNet
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    The 2004 “Stanca” law is the digital accessibility law in Italy. The aim of the Stanca Law is to ensure that people with disabilities have equal access to digital media.

    This blog dives into six of the most frequently asked question about Italy's web accessibility law including how the Stanca law relates to the EU directive, who the Stanca law applies to, how companies based in Italy should get started with accessibility, and more. 

    How does Italy's Stanca law relate to the EU's Directive on Web Accessibility?

    A "directive" in the European Union isn't a strict regulation. Rather a directive is a legislative act that sets out a goal for all that all EU states to achieve. Yet, it is up to each individual nation in the EU to decide how they will meet that goal. The Stanca law legislative decree no 106 updates Law 4/2004 to be Italy's answer to the EU directive.

    The Web Accessibility Directive (Directive (EU) 2016/2102) requires that public sector organizations' websites and apps follow WCAG. The EU issued the web accessibility directive with a 2025 deadline for member states. The Web Accessibility Directive is the complement to the EU's European Accessibility Act.

    Who does the 2004 Stanca law apply to?

    The 2004 law mandated that websites and apps be accessible to everyone. The law applied to 7 specific types of organizations:

    1. Public administrations
    2. Public services
    3. Regional municipal companies
    4. Public assistance and rehabilitation organizations
    5. Transportation and telecommunication companies
    6. Information technology contractors to public law bodies
    7. Organizations that receive public funding 

    In 2020, article 29 of the Stanca law extended the requirements. The law now applies to the 8th category. It's this last category that must make their websites and apps accessible now.

    1. Large companies with annual sales of more than 500 million euros.

    How can private companies get started with digital accessibility?

    Companies with that invoiced more than 500 million in sales in the past three years will need to start their accessibility initiatives with a plan now. These private companies will be required to declare their accessibility for the first time this fall, in 2022.  For these private companies, the first step towards accessibility should be taking stock of digital assets to make them accessible.

    Digital assets to review for accessibility include:

    • Websites
    • Mobile sites
    • Native apps
    • PDFs
    • Videos
    • Podcasts

    Some remediation will take longer than others. So, it's best for the private companies impacted by Stanca law to get started and take stock of what digital assets need to be accessible right away.

    What happens if companies are not in compliance with Italy’s law on digital accessibility?

    What happens when companies fail to make their websites and apps accessible is up to the AGID. The AGID is the Digital Italy Agency. AGID will confirm violations and assign deadlines for accessibility remediation. If it comes down to it, the AGID is likely to fine organizations with violations.

    Besides facing fines, non-compliant companies can expect harm to their brand's reputation. Companies with inaccessible websites miss out on a large population of potential customers.

    Who benefits from the new digital accessibility mandate in Stanca law?

    The companies making their websites and apps accessible now will benefit from better accessibility. Companies with more accessible apps and websites can serve a wider group of people. Today, 1 in 4 people have a disability. That's a big deal for the Italian companies, many of whom are international.

    Some of the people able to use websites and apps when they are accessible are:

    • People with visual disabilities like people that are blind. Accessibility can also help people with nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism. color blindness and more.
    • People with auditory disabilities like deaf people. Digital accessibility also helps people with conductive hearing loss or sensorineural hearing loss.
    • People with motor disabilities. Digital Accessibility helps people with cerebral palsy, neural-tube defect, or muscle and joint conditions. Digital accessibility for people with motor disabilities ensures people with traumatic brain and spinal injuries are able to use your websites and apps.
    • People with cognitive impairments. Digital accessibility helps people who have motory, attention, problem-solving, text processing, math processing, visual processing disabilities, to name a few.

    Digital accessibility makes websites and apps more usable. So, it's not only people with disabilities who want accessibility. People of all abilities benefit from accessible websites and apps.

    What does the update to the Stanca Law mean for Italy in the future?

    Stanca law brings Italy closer to compliance with the EU web accessibility directive.

    Lockdowns heightened our expectations for how we interact with companies online. As more people interact online, companies should make their digital assets accessible. With Stanca Law, even private companies must provide an equal experience for everyone online. Stanca law means a better digital experience is coming for people of all abilities.

    Ready to see the results of digital accessibility for your business? 

    Contact UsableNet for a free consultation or download our web accessibility checklist. The web accessibility checklist outlines the steps to consider when creating your digital accessibility initiative. Download the accessibility checklist now. 

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