European Accessibility Act (EAA)
Be a Champion of Digital Inclusion: Align with the European Accessibility Act (EAA). Expand your reach, enhance your brand's social responsibility, and unlock new revenue opportunities.
In an era where digital inclusivity is not just a value but a necessity, our bespoke EAA Compliance Services stand as a beacon of empowerment and assurance. We specialize in transforming your digital landscape to be universally accessible, aligning meticulously with the European Accessibility Act (EAA). From in-depth audits utilizing both cutting-edge tools and the invaluable insights of disabled individuals, to structured implementation and continuous monitoring, we are committed to elevating your digital presence to new heights of accessibility and compliance.
What is the European Accessibility Act (EAA)?
The European Accessibility Act (EAA) is a significant piece of legislation within the European Union aimed at improving the accessibility of products and services for people with disabilities. According to the World Health Organization, in Member States of the WHO European Region, 6 to 10 out of every 100 people live with a disability.
The EAA legally requires accessible design in key services like e-commerce, online banking, and telephone and transport ticketing services, making inclusion non-negotiable in the EU.
As a binding legislative act, the EAA, also known as Directive (EU) 2019/882 obliges EU members to implement widespread accessible services and products by June 28, 2025.
The EAA demands sites and businesses included in the Accessibility Mandate bigger than 10 employees or €2M in revenue to embrace accessibility, with legal repercussions for non-compliance.
EAA: Overview and Business Implications
The primary goal of the EAA is to ensure that people with disabilities have better access to a wide range of products and services. This includes everyday products and services like smartphones, computers, e-books, e-commerce services, and ATMs.
The EAA covers a broad spectrum of products and services, including digital devices, e-commerce, banking services, passenger transport, telephone services and sites, and e-books. It aims to harmonize accessibility standards across EU member states, making it easier for businesses to meet these standards in different countries.
The Act sets out specific requirements that products and services must meet to be considered accessible. These requirements generally focus on ensuring that products and services can be easily used by everyone, including those with disabilities. The Act currently aligns with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1. However, with the release of WCAG 2.2 in October 2023, this will soon transition to the updated standard, reflecting the latest in web accessibility practices
Impact on Businesses
Businesses are required to comply with the accessibility standards set out in the EAA. This may involve redesigning products or services to make them more accessible. Research shows that most online shops in the EU do not meet the requirements as of today. That is why many e-commerce managers will have to work on this in 2024.
Enforcement and Compliance
The EAA mandates EU member states to ensure compliance with its requirements. This includes monitoring and enforcement mechanisms to ensure that the standards are met. Failure to comply can expose companies to serious consequences, including penalties, lawsuits for discrimination, or even orders to cease operations. These risks are compounded under the jurisdiction of each individual EU country, amplifying the potential for severe repercussions.
The Act was adopted in 2019, and member states are required to transpose it into national law, with a deadline for implementation of June 28, 2025.
The EAA is not only beneficial for people with disabilities but also benefits the elderly and other groups who may face accessibility challenges. By creating a more inclusive environment, it also opens new market opportunities for businesses. Based on the World Health Organization (WHO), today we count 135 million people with disabilities in Europe in 2023. Additionally, studies have shown that individuals with disabilities tend to be highly loyal customers. An accessible website that provides a positive experience significantly enhances their comfort and likelihood to revisit and make future purchases.
Complying with the European Accessibility Act helps businesses avoid substantial fines, and lawsuits by meeting mandatory accessibility standards and preventing discrimination claims.
Compliance with the European Accessibility Act opens doors to a broader, more diverse audience, enhancing revenue with a compassionate approach to accessibility. More than 100 million individuals in Europe are living with various disabilities.
Enhancing accessibility boosts search engine rankings and ensures your site is user-friendly for all, improving navigation and expanding audience reach for better online engagement.
EAA Compliance Website Audit by Persons with Disabilities
Our EAA compliance audit merges automated tools with real-world testing by disabled individuals using screen readers, delivering an in-depth website accessibility evaluation. You’ll receive a detailed report with actionable steps to boost accessibility, ensuring a user-friendly experience for everyone, including visually impaired visitors. Tailorable to your needs, the assessment covers over 100 scenarios, particularly in e-commerce and online banking, across various devices and screen readers like JAWS, NVDA, TalkBack, and VoiceOver.
Our suite of Accessibility Services offers comprehensive support for achieving and maintaining Accessibility Compliance. This includes evaluating existing procedures, website architecture, third-party integrations, and development methodologies. We collaborate with you to create a strategic roadmap towards lasting accessibility compliance, ensuring not only adherence to the EAA standards but also ongoing compliance.
Realtime Monitoring & Development Studio
Our real-time accessibility monitoring allows us to monitor every environment, including sandboxes, development, staging, or production environments. We also provide robust support for operations involving multiple brands and sites. Software Engineers can use advanced development studios to quickly analyze complex pages, including one-page applications, dynamic content, and local development environments or networks behind firewalls.
Our Accessibility Training service equips your staff with essential knowledge and skills to adhere to the European Accessibility Act (EAA). This tailored training covers the key aspects of digital accessibility, focusing on both the legal requirements and practical applications of the EAA. Your employees (designers, quality assurance, and software engineers) will learn how to make digital content and services accessible to everyone, including individuals with disabilities, ensuring your organization’s commitment to inclusivity and regulatory compliance.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why manual audits by disabled individuals are essential beyond automated monitoring tools?
Automated monitoring tools, despite their efficiency, are limited to detecting only about 60% of actual accessibility issues. They can identify technical compliance but often miss the user logic aspect. For instance, a tool might mark multiple “Size” labels as compliant, but a person with disabilities might only hear repetitive and uninformative “button size” prompts.
Similarly, navigation loops can trap keyboard-reliant users in sections like the Cart, hindering their progress. The most effective approach combines automated monitoring for continual oversight with an initial manual audit. This, coupled with addressing accessibility at its core – in design and development – ensures comprehensive coverage and a truly accessible experience for all users.
What is my route to compliance?
Achieving compliance effectively involves several steps:
- Begin by determining your current compliance status through manual audit and automated monitoring.
- Once you have comprehensive reports, it’s essential to educate your development and testing teams about rectifying these issues. It’s a common finding that many front-end developers lack familiarity with Accessibility Standards.
- With insightful reports and a skilled team, you can then address the existing issues in your status queue.
- A crucial aspect of this process is integrating best practices into your core development process. Prevention is key; addressing potential issues during development is often ten times more cost-effective than post-development fixes.
What key factors impact the timeline for achieving EAA compliance?
Your route to compliance varies based on your current setup. Consider these key aspects:
- Website Complexity: Is your site straightforward, or does it span multiple locales and
functionalities across the EU?
- Technology Usage: If your site uses headless technology, compliance may be more challenging. Many headless sites, often custom-developed, lack built-in accessibility due to limited exposure to EU accessibility standards among software engineers.
- Design Systems: Addressing design and template issues can be a strategic starting point. Correcting a single element, like a header or footer, can enhance compliance across thousands of pages.
- Number of Actionable Pages: Pages with numerous interactive elements, such as filters, search functions, accounts, and address fields, tend to be more prone to compliance issues.
Assessing these factors will guide you in developing a tailored approach to achieving accessibility compliance.
WHY AIOPSGROUP, a valantic company?
We Merge Technology and Impaired Individuals Testing
AIOPSGROUP adopts a compassionate and effective approach, merging automation technology with human testing by individuals with impairments. This thoughtful blend not only guarantees full compliance but also deeply considers and enhances the user experience for those with impairments, demonstrating a strong commitment to empathy and inclusivity.
We Deliver End-to-End Approach to EAA Compliance
AIOPSGROUP’s Accessibility Service offers a modular, end-to-end approach to EAA compliance, starting with an initial assessment and education, progressing through a thorough audit and reporting, and culminating in structured improvements executed by our experienced team, either independently or in conjunction with your staff.
We Provide Continuous Support
Integrating accessibility best practices into the development and release process, along with conducting periodic reviews by AIOPSGROUP, is crucial for maintaining compliance and addressing any emerging accessibility issues effectively. Adopting an agile approach to inclusion ensures quick adaptation to evolving needs and standards, maintaining consistent accessibility for all users.
Dive into the details of the European Accessibility Act, a groundbreaking initiative in our commitment to inclusivity and universal access. This legislation marks a transformative step in ensuring that products and services cater to the needs of all individuals, including those with disabilities. By following this link, you will be directed to the full text of the Act, where you can explore its comprehensive guidelines and objectives.