Web accessibility

Status of implementation under essen.de

The internet facilities of the City of Essen meet the requirements of the Accessible Information Technology Ordinance (BITV):

  • Texts are checked for general comprehensibility when they are produced.
  • Technical terms and abbreviations are only used where absolutely necessary, and are explained.
  • The texts on essen.de are scaleable.
  • for images, there are alternative texts available if these cannot be perceived visually.
  • The navigation is clearly structured, and has a uniform design throughout the internet facilities.
  • The page contents can be accessed separately from the layout of the page
  • The presentation of the internet facilities is largely independent of the device used (e.g. using a mobile telephone or an old browser version).
  • Software expansions are not needed to access content.

The editing of essen.de furthermore makes an effort to optimise the facilities.

Text size

The text size on essen.de can be made larger or smaller using the key combination + <+> and + <->.

Alternatively, you can alter the text size in your browser settings. If you use Internet Explorer (up to Version 6), you can edit the settings in the 'View' menu, under 'Text size'. At Version 7 of Internet Explorer and above, the settings can be changed using the 'Page' button, under 'Text size'.

In Mozilla Firefox, you can edit the text size using the 'View' menu, under 'Text size', 'Larger' or 'Smaller'.

Image size

It is generally possible to view a larger version of all interesting photos by clicking on them with the mouse.

Note on the use of documents

The documents available under essen.de, e.g. form sheets, brochures and flyers, are saved in PDF format. The link to a PDF file includes information on the size of the file. To view these PDF documents, you require a reader application, e.g. the programme Adobe Reader, which you can download for free: Go to Adobe Reader

As soon as you click on one of the links to a PDF file on essen.de, the file is opened, together with the reader program. If you have difficulties reading the text in PDF format online, we recommend that you first save the document to a folder on your computer. From there you can open the file and view it offline.


Using the horizontal navigation bar (portal navigation), you can get to any of the content pages on essen.de in just a few clicks. The content is compiled on the basis of user requirements, and the respective bottom navigation on the left-hand side (menu bar) is structured based on key subjects or typical life situations. An overview can be found in the table of contents.

In the middle field of the pages (content section) you can find editorial articles, notes on events, and descriptions, photos and further details on the services available and responsibilities within the City of Essen. The information in the right-hand column supplements the content section in the middle. This is where you can find explanatory photos and links to further information. These might be part of the municipal internet facilities, or they may be documents to download or external webpages.

At the bottom of the page, you can generally find information on contact partners for the content described.

At the foot of the page, you can find important contact details for the companies run by the City of Essen group, and interesting links to facilities throughout the region.


A high-performance full-text search helps you if you do not know where in the structure you need to look. Simply enter your search term into the corresponding text field in the top left-hand corner. The search functions are being developed further.

The municipal editorial system

With its editorial system FIRSTspirit, the City of Essen has developed an integration platform that is characterised by a high degree of user-friendliness, and by the clear separation of content, structure and layout. This aspect is an important requirement for accessible pages, which can thus be constantly published in accessible format on any channels desired.

Notes on accessibility and practical use of the internet site essen.de

Advantages of accessibility

Particularly for persons with disabilities, the internet offers new possibilities for participating in social life and integrating into the world of work. The internet facilitates communication and exchanging information, or even makes them possible for the first time. This makes it necessary, however, to make internet facilities accessible for the disabled, i.e. designing them to be accessible for all from the start.

Comprehensible content and clear navigation make it easier for all users to understand information. Positive side effects include the fact that the content of a website can be more easily accessed by search engines, i.e. it is easier to find the content in "Google". In addition, the internet facilities are always easily accessible, irrespective of the platform the user is using (browser, mobile telephone, Personal Digital Assistant - (PDA)). Also in working environments with high noise levels, poor lighting conditions, older hardware and software equipment, or poor internet connections, accessibility of internet pages is an advantage.

Legal basis of accessibility

We have made an effort to fulfil the statutory requirements of the Accessible Information Technology Ordinance (BITV). This law implements the requirements of the Disabled Persons Equality Law (BGG), which has been in force since 1 May 2002. It governs the equality of disabled persons in public law, where the federal government is responsible, and is an important component of the prohibition of discrimination based on article 3 paragraph 3 clause 2 of the German Constitution ("No person shall be disadvantaged on the grounds of his or her disability").

Under article 11 of the BGG, agents of public institutions are obliged to design their internet pages and facilities in such a way that these can be used without restriction by disabled persons. In North Rhine-Westphalia, the accessible implementation of this requirement is governed by the Ordinance for the Creation of Accessible Information Technology, under the Disabled Persons Equality Law of North Rhine-Westphalia (Accessible Information Technology Ordinance North Rhine-Westphalia - BITV NRW) dated 24 June 2004.

The appendix to BITV includes requirements and conditions for accessible internet pages.

Suggestions and criticism

If you have any questions or remarks, please contact us. We appreciate your suggestions and constructive criticism.

The editors of essen.de


Online editorial
Telephone +49 (0)201 88 88063
Fax +49 (0)201 88 88019
Email redaktion@essen.de
Internet http://www.essen.de

Informationen zur Website der Stadt Essen in Deutscher Gebärdensprache (DGS)


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