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Are you compliant with the European Accessibility Act? The 2025 deadline is fast approaching.

Data and accessibility expert Will Awad is one of our guest bloggers this month.

Join Will in talking about the incoming European Accessibility Act (EAA). Regardless of what you do, you should always be thinking about accessibility and inclusive practices. This post gives you insight into the European Accessibility Act and its impact on publishers - sign up to receive content alerts as they are published.

An image of Will Awad.

The EAA is an important piece of legislation in the European Union. It is aimed at ensuring digital products (such as ATMs, ticketing machines, computer hardware, e-readers) and services (such as websites, commercial and banking services etc.), are more accessible for people with disabilities.

The EAA is a call to action for private sector businesses running within one of the world’s largest economies - the EU market. Public sectors have already been adjusting, and now it’s for the private sector to follow suit, particularly for publishers and businesses whose operations extend into the digital sphere.

When do you need to be compliant by?

The EAA has been in effect since April 2019, setting an important deadline of 28 June 2025 for compliance and for EU nations to incorporate this directive into their legislation. This timeline gives businesses approximately 15 months from now to align their digital offerings, which include websites, apps, ebooks, and other digital services, with the standards set out by the EAA.

What happens if you don’t comply?

A dark brown coloured wooden gavel with a gold band in the middle.

Non-compliance with the EAA carries substantial risks. Legal actions, fines, and negative publicity are consequences for businesses that do not meet the requirements.

There are also moral and ethical reasons to comply with the EAA, as doing so can help to make content, services and products more accessible for people with a disability. The EAA outlines guidelines for penalties, emphasizing that they should be proportional to the extent and seriousness of the non-compliance, the volume of non-complying products or services, and the number of affected individuals.

Each EU member state is expected to introduce its own laws to address non-compliance, and the specifics of these laws will become clearer once enforcement begins post-July 2025.

Recently, Ireland implemented the EAA into Irish law through the “European Union (Accessibility Requirements of Products and Services) Regulations 2023” (the Regulation). It is an important legislative step towards achieving greater accessibility and inclusivity, reflecting Ireland’s commitment to upholding the principles of the EAA within its national context.

The Regulation provides ways to monitor and ensure compliance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). This includes potential penalties for non-compliance, aligning with the broader EU directive’s approach to enforcing the EAA. Other EU countries did the same or are in the process of introducing legislation into their law.

How can your practices benefit from complying with the EAA?

The benefits of adapting to the EAA are significant and include:

  • Enhanced user experience to access and navigate content seamlessly

  • Broader audience reach especially when one in six people in the world suffer from a disability

  • Improved brand reputation as an inclusive and equal business.

For digital publishing where ebooks are a primary product, the EAA’s implications are huge.

Ebooks must be made accessible, with features like text-to-speech compatibility, adjustable text and display settings, easy navigation, accessible graphics/images, and compatibility with various devices and software.

These adaptations follow the EAA and open doors to a more inclusive, diverse readership.

In essence, the EAA represents an opportunity for businesses to meet legal requirements and embrace inclusivity, expand their market, and enhance their impact globally. By aligning with the EAA, businesses can play a vital role in creating a more accessible and inclusive digital environment in one of the world’s most influential markets.

Want to learn more about Will? Check out Will's previous post - Disability rights are human rights, improving digital accessibility in law.

Contact Will to find out more about accessibility and the European Accessibility Act:

Phone: +44 (0) 7555 222509

LinkedIn: Will Awad

Explore our blog posts to expand your knowledge on accessibility and inclusion:

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