The European Accessibility Act is a directive of the EU to improve the accessibility of products and services for people with disabilities. It aims to ensure equal access to key products like smartphones, ATMs, and e-commerce, mandating accessible features and fostering a more inclusive market across member states. The Act harmonizes with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), ensuring digital accessibility standards are met uniformly.
AIOPSGROUP, a valantic company: Guiding Companies to European Accessibility Act Compliance
The European Accessibility Act (EAA), is a crucial piece of EU legislation impacting the digital sector and must be adopted by mid-2025. Here is what you need to know about EAA Compliance.
The Key Benefits
The European Accessibility Act (EAA) offers several significant benefits for online businesses. Let’s review some of them.
- Broader Market Reach: By making digital products and services more accessible, businesses can reach a larger audience, including people with disabilities. This inclusivity not only expands the customer base but also enhances brand reputation. 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.
- Compliance with Legal Standards: Adhering to the EAA ensures businesses with more than 10 employees or €2M in revenue are compliant with legal requirements, reducing the risk of legal challenges and penalties related to accessibility issues.
- Enhanced User Experience: Accessible design often results in a better user experience for all customers, not just those with disabilities. This can lead to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.
- Innovation and Improved Products: The need to comply with accessibility standards can drive innovation, leading to the development of new, more user-friendly products and services.
- Competitive Advantage: Businesses that prioritize accessibility may gain a competitive edge in markets where consumers are increasingly aware of and concerned with inclusivity and social responsibility.
- Potential for Increased SEO: Accessible websites are often more SEO-friendly, as they tend to have clearer navigation and content structure, potentially improving search engine rankings.
- Corporate Social Responsibility: By adhering to the EAA, businesses demonstrate their commitment to social responsibility, enhancing their corporate image and potentially attracting customers and investors who value inclusivity and ethical practices.
The EAA Compliance Route
For an effective compliance strategy, follow these steps:
- Assessment of Current Compliance: Start by evaluating your current compliance level. This should involve both a manual audit and continuous automated monitoring to understand where you stand.
- Educating Teams: Once you have detailed reports, it’s crucial to train your development and testing teams on how to address these issues. A common challenge is that many front-end developers are not well-versed in Accessibility Standards.
- Rectification of Identified Issues: Armed with thorough reports and a knowledgeable team, you can begin working on the issues identified in your status queue.
- Incorporation of Best Practices: An essential part of this journey is embedding best practices into your core development process. Prioritizing prevention and addressing potential issues during the development phase is far more cost-effective – up to ten times less expensive – than making corrections after development.
Online businesses should proactively embrace the European Accessibility Act. By integrating accessibility into their digital strategy, they not only comply with important regulations but also unlock potential for market expansion, enhanced customer loyalty, and innovation. This approach is not just about meeting legal obligations—it’s a forward-thinking business practice that aligns with evolving market trends and societal values, positioning the business for long-term success and societal impact.