The European Accessibility Act 2025: Upcoming changes 

April 9th 2024

Category(s):

  • Accessibility

The European Accessibility Act (EAA) aims to make all the goods and services available in the European Union (EU) internal market accessible. Ratified by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRP), it removes accessibility barriers created by divergent rules followed in the member states. EAA is a directive for the private sector where the supposedly heavy penalty for noncompliance is decided by the national laws of the member states.

What Does the EAA Entail?

Businesses that operate or have a majority of consumers in the EU are expected to be accessible. They have time till June 28, 2025, to apply these measures, which majorly focus on digital products and services. Although the directive does not reference any standard, WCAG 2.1 compliance is ideal. Microenterprises with ten or fewer employees, organizations that cannot withstand the financial burden, prerecorded media, and archives are exempted from EAA. The directive foresees surveillance authorities and encourages businesses to conduct audits regularly and report. The expectations are that trade across the EU will be easier and organizations will be driven to innovate and offer better solutions at competitive prices.

Consumer Benefits

Accessibility enables people with permanent or temporary disabilities and people with situational limitations to lead independent lives. The EU alone has 135 million people with disabilities (PwD). The EAA will create employment opportunities for PwD. Consumers will have more choices of accessible products and services at lower prices due to increased competition. It encourages born-accessible content. From June 28, 2025, consumers will be able to file complaints about accessibility noncompliance.

Products and Services

The EAA identifies digital technologies like educational material, hardware systems, self-service kiosks, banking services, electronic communication services, transport services, eBooks, reading software and devices, and e-commerce sites and applications to be accessible for PwD. Defining accessibility features will help users consult and navigate through content with ease.

Implementing the EAA

Similar to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the EAA will also have a global impact. eBooks, any content with multimedia, websites, and applications have to be accessible in the EU. Besides producing accessible content, publishers have to describe and display accessibility information for others to receive the accessibility metadata. It will improve market reach, SEO, search result rankings, and brand value, by including PwD.

Organizations are obligated to provide adequate staff training, auditing, reporting, and reviews. Lack of priority, time, or knowledge is not a permissible excuse. Establish a reporting protocol, and set clear goals that can be achieved in an orderly manner. Assess the current accessibility level, and budget and plan for EAA compliance.

Amnet’s Accessibility Solutions

The EAA’s initiative aims to achieve a universal design approach by removing and preventing barriers. It is high time we see accessibility as a fundamental necessity. If handled strategically, the EAA can bring you many opportunities to scale your business. Set a realistic time frame, and plan your accessibility goals with professionals. Our A11y solutions combine technology with Amnet’s expertise in optimizing accessibility. Discuss the possibilities of WCAG 2.1 and EAA compliance with our team.

Sources

https://www.learnetic.com/publishers-european-accessibility-act/.

https://laurabrady.ca/blog/the-european-accessibility-act-and-book-publishing.

https://www.vaimo.com/blog/the-european-accessibility-act-2025-what-businesses-need-to-do.

 https://www.learnetic.com/wcag-to-2025/.

 https://monsido.com/blog/european-accessibility-act-how-to-prepare.

 https://www.siteimprove.com/de/blog/the-european-accessibility-act-faq/.