Inclusive by Design: How the European Accessibility Act (EAA) changes web development in 2025

Mathias Benninghoven
Mathias Benninghoven

As we approach 2025, the digital landscape is on the cusp of a transformative change, thanks to the European Accessibility Act (EAA). This legislation is set to redefine how digital services and products are designed, developed, and marketed across Europe, with significant implications for marketing and web development.

Understanding the EAA, its importance, current landscape, upcoming changes, potential opportunities, challenges, and how agencies can assist clients in early implementation is crucial for staying ahead in the digital arena.

What is Digital Accessibility?

Digital accessibility refers to the practice of designing websites, tools, and technologies in a way that allows people with disabilities, including visual, auditory, physical, speech, cognitive, and neurological disabilities, to use them effectively. It encompasses a broad range of practices, from coding for screen readers to ensuring websites can be navigated without a mouse.

Why is Digital Accessibility so important?

Digital accessibility is vital for creating an inclusive digital environment that offers equal access to information and opportunities for all individuals, regardless of their physical abilities. It's not only a matter of social responsibility and inclusivity but also a legal requirement in many jurisdictions. Moreover, accessible websites often provide a better user experience for all users, potentially increasing a site's reach and effectiveness.

© Uhura Digital

What is the legal situation today?

Today, despite various national and international guidelines and laws aimed at improving digital accessibility, the implementation is inconsistent. Many websites and digital tools still fall short of being fully accessible to individuals with disabilities, posing barriers to information, services, and participation in the digital economy.

What will change in 2025?

The European Accessibility Act (EAA) coming into effect in 2025 is a comprehensive piece of legislation aimed at ensuring a higher level of accessibility for products and services across the EU. It covers a wide range of digital products and services, including e-commerce, banking services, computer operating systems, and more. The EAA mandates that these digital offerings must be accessible to people with disabilities, enforcing a unified standard across member states and reducing the fragmentation currently seen in digital accessibility standards.

What are potentials?

The implementation of the EAA opens up a plethora of opportunities for businesses and developers. It presents a chance to innovate and create more user-friendly designs that benefit all users. Accessibility can drive better SEO, broader market reach, and enhanced brand reputation. Moreover, companies that proactively embrace accessibility can position themselves as leaders in corporate social responsibility and inclusivity.

© Uhura Digital

What are potential road blocks and challenges?

However, the path to compliance with the EAA can be fraught with challenges. These include the cost of retrofitting existing digital assets, the need for specialized skills and knowledge to ensure compliance, and potential resistance to change within organizations. Additionally, keeping abreast of the technical requirements and implementing them effectively requires ongoing effort and investment.

How can agencies help clients to implement the Act at an early stage?

As an agency, we play a crucial role in helping clients navigate the complexities of the EAA. Our expertise can guide the strategic overhaul of digital assets to ensure compliance well before the 2025 deadline. Here's how we can assist:

  • Audit and Consultation: Conduct comprehensive audits of existing digital properties to identify areas that fall short of accessibility standards, followed by detailed recommendations for improvement.
  • Design and Development: Leverage our expertise in accessible design and development practices to build or retrofit websites and digital tools that comply with the EAA requirements.
  • Training and Education: Offer training sessions for clients' teams on the importance of digital accessibility, the requirements of the EAA, and how to maintain compliance in ongoing digital initiatives.
  • Ongoing Support: Provide continuous support and updates on evolving accessibility standards and technologies to ensure clients' digital assets remain compliant over time.

The European Accessibility Act represents a significant step forward in making the digital world more inclusive. By understanding its implications and preparing in advance, businesses can not only comply with the law, but also seize the opportunity to lead in accessibility, enhancing their offerings for all users. As agencies, our role is to facilitate this transition, helping our clients embrace a more accessible and inclusive digital future.

If you are looking for a partner to improve your existing website to a high digital accessibility standard or develop a new web presence, find out more information here and feel free to get in touch any time.

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