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  • Accessibility Services (ZAB)

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    Entrance door to Bielefeld University with a symbol of a wheelchair user and a bicycle prohibition sign
    © ZAB - University Bielefeld

Digital accessibility

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Accessibility Directive

How do I implement the Directive on Accessibility?

EU Directive 2102 on the accessibility of the websites and mobile applications of public sector bodies requires public institutions across the EU to have accessible websites and apps and to publish an accessibility statement.

You can find out how to implement this on the BIK pages.



Accessibility of tools used at Bielefeld University

An overview of the accessibility of the following tools can be found here

  • Microsoft products
  • Adobe Acrobat
  • LibreOffice
  • Learning platforms of Bielefeld University
  • Panopto
  • Zoom
  • LernraumPlus
  • Mahara


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Accessible digital content

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© Bielefeld University

Everyone should be able to access resources and information without facing barriers. The use of modern information technology in particular demands a higher degree of attention and participation from the user. If this is possibility denied, or if there are no adequate alternatives, then this lack of accessibility amounts to exclusion. Therefore, the removal and prevention of 'digital barriers' must be a priority when creating quality websites and documents.

On these pages you can learn how to create accessible content and what needs to be considered in detail. The instructions in this guide are designed to be as clear and easy to follow as possible. This portal is constantly being expanded and updated. 

What is meant by accessibility in digital media?

Screenshot of a web page analysed with WAVE
© ZAB - Bielefeld University

Users with a wide range of disabilities and needs should be able to use digital resources without any limitations or assistance.

For people with visual impairments, even low contrast of type can be an almost insurmountable barrier. An image without an alternative text excludes many people; the image's content cannot be perceived. Online forms are often a hurdle because input fields are not labelled correctly and selection fields are not 'read aloud' even by modern screen readers. Thus, when creating digital media, there are a number of hurdles that should be avoided in the first place or addressed retrospectively.

Who benefits from digital accessibility?

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© ZAB - Bielefeld University

Accessibility benefits everyone.

Accessible content is better content for everyone. It improves structure, increases legibility, and ensures a more user-friendly experience. If you design complicated tables and present them in a document, then it will not be greatly appreciated.

And if you use low-contrast colour boxes, it will be unlikely that you will win the prize for the most accessible website. So as to the question of who benefits the answer is clear, that accessible digital technology can positively impact everyone, with or without disabilities . And remember, a barrier that is of no concern to you today could be an insurmountable hurdle tomorrow.

So let's eliminate barriers and consider the benefits that we can all enjoy.

What are the legal requirements?

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© ZAB - Universität Bielefeld

What does the law say?

Accessible content complies with UN conventions, EU directives as well as German law.

The aim of the EU-2016/2102 directive is to harmonize existing regulations in the area of accessibility. Thus, no existing laws are overridden, but gaps are closed and a uniform standard is created.

In Germany, the Barrier-Free Information Technology Ordinance of the Federal Government (BITV 2.0) and, at the state level, the BITV NRW regulate the basic requirements for accessible Internet applications. This is based on the globally valid Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). However, Directive EU-2016/2102, which was made mandatory for new websites from September 2019 and for all previously existing websites from September 2020, requires a number of additional steps to be taken to comply.

For more information on guidelines and legal requirements, see our overview. (in German)

Why test?

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© ZAB - Universität Bielefeld


In order to make your website accessible to all users, and to evaluate how accessible your online content really is, you have the option of using a so-called accessibility audit.

An audit is a process by which all active applications undergo testing for various forms of accessibility.

For example, a website may be accessible to a hearing-impaired person, but may need further changes so that a blind person can access it too. An accessibility audit will test the service on different levels so that it can be used by everyone.

The ZAB tests websites, web applications, documents, and in the future, software for accessibility.

What can I do?

wheelchair user logo on glass door
© ZAB - Bielefeld University

Inform yourself about accessibility issues

If you handle digital content, then you should always think in terms of accessibility when you create documents, websites, and other digital formats. Be aware of the steps and measures you need to take.

To help you become more aware of accessibility issues, we offer a whole range of guides, good examples and practices for you learn and adopt. In training sessions, we will explain how to create accessible websites and what to look out for in documents.

We are also producing explanatory videos which we will add to over time, with examples of different aspects of accessibility and how to take them into account when publishing content, or showing how screen readers ‘read aloud’ a document. For many users, this often leads to surprising insights, which otherwise may not have come to their attention.

So check out our guides, tips and solutions. Or see here what it is like to experience a website with disabilities.

(all links just in German)

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