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Craftzing welcomes accessibility specialist and pioneer Gijs Veyfeyken

Due to the upcoming European Accessibility Act, more and more organizations are compelled to make their digital services inclusive and accessible. To offer them even stronger strategic and practical support in doing so, Craftzing is joining forces with accessibility specialist Gijs Veyfeyken. This allows Craftzing to form a multidisciplinary team that assists organizations from strategic advice to the development of accessible digital solutions. 

European Accessibility Act accelerates digital accessibility

A staggering 87 million people in the European Union live with some form of disability, which makes it difficult for them to participate in our increasingly digital world. The European directive (EU) 2019/882, better known as the European Accessibility Act, aims to change that. The new regulation has a significant impact on many organizations. Businesses involved in e-commerce and online banking, among other industries, will have to comply with accessibility guidelines starting from 2025. For governments, these regulations have been mandatory since 2020 through the European directive (EU) 2016/2102, the Web Accessibility Directive. This includes obligations such as publishing an accessibility statement.

Reaching more customers through an inclusive offering

For several years, Craftzing has been advising and supporting organizations like the government of Flanders, itsme, and Kom op tegen Kanker in enhancing the accessibility of their digital applications. With the approach of the European Accessibility Act and driven by the belief that an inclusive digital society serves a societal purpose, Craftzing aims to prioritize this issue on clients' agendas.

The reasons for businesses to develop an inclusive and accessible offering are numerous, according to Roeland Tegenbos, CEO of Craftzing:

"One of the most significant reasons to focus on digital inclusion and accessibility is that it helps you appeal to a broader audience. 1 in 4 Europeans has a form of disability, which makes it challenging for them to use digital products which do not follow the WCAG. Additionally, 1 in 2 Belgians lacks the necessary skills to fully engage with digital platforms. In other words, if you don't tailor your offerings to their needs, you’re excluding a substantial group of people. Thus, businesses not only invest in digital inclusion out of social responsibility but also for economic reasons: it simply allows them to reach a larger customer base."

Accessibility Officer as a Service

Craftzing's accessibility offering operates on three levels: consultancy, audits, and training.

Gijs Veyfeyken, accessibility specialist at Craftzing: "To create sustainable change within our clients’ organizations, it's crucial to incorporate accessibility from the conceptual phase and integrate it into the business processes. We guide management in this with consultancy sessions and an Accessibility Officer as a Service. This expert oversees the process, provides advice on user experience, design, development, and ensures the proper implementation of accessibility standards and regulations (eg. WGAC)."

In addition, audits and usability testing are designed to provide clients with insights into the accessibility of their current offerings and identify areas that may require adjustments. Through accessibility training for designers and developers, Craftzing aims to enhance the internal skills of clients, enabling them to achieve their objectives more easily.

Building a team of experts

Gijs Veyfeyken and Wout Thielemans will lead the team of experts, with over 15 years of experience as a certified accessibility specialist and over 10 years of experience as a front-end developer, respectively. In their roles, they will oversee projects, train internal teams, and support the recruitment of external experts.

Wout Thielemans, front-end accessibility expert at Craftzing: "In my recent years as a front-end developer, I discovered my passion for the accessibility of digital applications. Collaborating with other teams motivates me because everyone, with their personal experiences and unique perspectives, can elevate the product to a higher level. Through our expertise center focused on digital inclusion, I will be able to share my passion and knowledge in a defined framework. This allows us to provide targeted training to people both internally and externally.”

By Michele Stynen

Digital Marketeer