The European Accessibility Act (EAA)
What is the European Accessibility Act?
The Act will have significant and far reaching effects for online organizations operating within the EU. Most importantly, it will provide EU member states with a set of common accessibility rules to follow, which will theoretically bring about greater cohesion and consistency to the area as a whole.
Who has to comply with the European Accessibility Act?
The European Accessibility Act will cover the following products and services:
- computers and operating systems
- ATMs, ticketing and check-in machines
- telephones and smartphones
- TV equipment related to digital television services
- telephony services and related equipment
- audiovisual media services, such as television broadcast and related consumer equipment
- services related to air, bus, rail and waterborne passenger transport
- banking services
What web accessibility standards does the European Accessibility Act use?
WCAG and the European Accessibility Act
EN 301 549 covers conformance to both WCAG 2.1 level A and AA, but not level AAA, which enables a more seamless harmonization with other procurement standards. It is important to note that web authors and procurement accessibility specialists are encouraged to improve and extend the accessibility of websites and apps beyond the outlined standards where applicable and relevant, however.
WCAG 2.1’s four principles of accessibility: perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust are covered by EN 301 549.
The information and user interface components of websites and mobile applications must be presented in a way that enables users to perceive them clearly.
The functionality and navigation of the web and mobile user interface components must be usable.
The information and operation of the web and mobile user interface must be easily understood by people of differing abilities.
The content of the website must have the ability to be interpreted reliable across a range of assistive technologies, and have the ability to adapt to new user agents.
EN 301 549 also specifies the functional accessibility requirements for ICT products and services, including web content, which could be used in public procurement or to support other policies and legislation.
June 2022 Deadline
By this date, member states of the EU must have created their own digital accessibility law per the EAA and have it incorporated into their national laws.
How to comply with the European Accessibility Act
The deadline for compliance is expected to be June 22, 2025.
Not based in the EU?
Benefits for Businesses and Consumers
This, in turn, will benefit consumers, who will have more accessible products and services made available to them.
Are any organizations exempt from the EAA’s requirements?
There are some organizations, referred to as ‘‘micro-enterprises’’, that are exempt from the Act, based on the fact that its requirements would cause them ‘‘undue burden’’.
Micro-enterprises are defined as companies with fewer than 10 employees and with an annual turnover of less than two million Euros. Such organizations are exempt from the EAA’s requirements, as for them achieving compliance would either mean changing the core nature of the product or service they offer or becoming financially overburdened.
In addition, the directive does not apply to the following types of content on websites and apps:
- Pre-recorded time-based media published before June 2025.
- Office file format documents published before June 2025.
- Online maps; though if the map is used for navigational purposes then the essential information must be provided in accessible format.
- Third party content that is entirely out of the control of the website or app owner.
- Reproductions of items in heritage collections which are too fragile or expensive to digitize.
- The content of web sites and apps which are considered archival, meaning they are not needed for active administrative purposes and are no longer updated or edited.
- The web sites of schools, kindergartens, and nurseries, except for content pertaining to administrative functions.
Violations of the EAA will be penalized according to national laws, however expert commentators suggest that member states will likely opt to impose fines on those who do not comply with the directive’s regulations.
How Monsido can help your website comply with the European Accessibility Act
Monsido’s Web Accessibility Module audits your entire site for digital accessibility against the WCAG 2.1 success criteria (and any subsequent updates to the guidelines).
Each audit scans your site for machine-testable issues, provides detailed reports so you can review any errors that may arise, gives you targeted recommendations on how to address these errors based on the guidelines, and shows you your compliance based on WCAG 2.1 levels A, AA, and AAA. You can track and prove your accessibility compliance progress via reports in the History Center. We also offer accessibility training to customers and support, all-inclusive, to ensure that you are well-versed in both automated and manual remediation methods, and are able to efficiently and consistently improve your website’s accessibility.
Monsido also offers free tools to complement your web accessibility efforts, including a color contrast checker for web teams to test out compliant color combinations for their web design, and an accessibility statement generator, which helps you meet the requirements of the EU Web Accessibility Directive by producing a public statement declaring your commitment to web accessibility.