Zach Jackson

Despite growing awareness surrounding online accessibility and inclusivity, there are still barriers present that deny many people with disabilities the full benefits of the online space.

The European Commission’s method of reducing this accessibility gap is known as the EAA (European Accessibility Act). The initiative, scheduled for June 2025, sets out new inclusivity regulations aimed at combating the marginalisation of disabled individuals as we move towards an increasingly digitised future.

To remain compliant, businesses that operate within the EU states in a capacity specified by the act must make online accessibility a priority — here’s what you need to know.

A quick summary

What is the European Accessibility Act?

The European Accessibility Act is a legislative framework adopted by the European Union aimed at setting minimum accessibility requirements for various goods and services to benefit persons with disabilities.

There are around 135 million people living with disabilities in EU states. The EAA 2025 is designed to give as many of these individuals as possible full access to essential digital or electronic facilities, such as banking apps and ATMs.

It aims to encourage a more diverse market landscape that welcomes people with one or more of a broad spectrum of disabilities to participate fully in modern society.

The scope of the EAA 2025

The scope of the EAA 2025 encompasses several key areas, the most significant of which include:

  • Digital accessibility: This will involve businesses that fall under the purview of the EAA ensuring accessibility across websites and digital services, so they align with the principles set out by the WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines).
  • Audiovisual media accessibility: Companies that produce - or provide services related to - television equipment or streaming must incorporate accessibility features such as audio description and closed captions into their offerings.
  • Banking accessibility: Easy and independent financial management for persons with disabilities is one of the driving principles of the EAA 2025. This means that digital and physical banking services will also require significant accessibility updates. For instance, ATMs must feature audio assistance to help the visually impaired operate them with ease. 
  • Assistive technologies: The EAA calls for greater compatibility between digital products/services and assistive technologies such as speech recognition software.
  • Electronic communication: This means that primary electronic communication methods must be easily accessed and used by disabled people. It includes email, messaging services, mobile phones, etc.

How long do businesses have to prepare for the EAA 2025?

Businesses have until June 28th 2025 to upgrade accessibility and inclusivity where necessary.

This deadline may seem quite distant; however, as Google’s Consent Mode v2 deadline and the EU’s GDPR have shown, complacency is a real killer.

In many instances, the changes required for complete EAA 2025 compliance will be extensive, so our advice is to get started right away – and we can help.

As well as SEO and Paid Media, we offer expert website UX services for enhanced accessibility and inclusivity. Enquire for more information.

What do website owners need to do to prepare for the EAA 2025?

We recommend the following steps to prepare for the 2025 European Accessibility Act:

  1. Your first step should be to establish if your website falls under the purview of the European Accessibility Act 2025. In other words, does your website sell products or services available to European audiences?
  2. Next, carry out an exhaustive accessibility and inclusivity audit of your website, services, and products.
  3. With the results of the audit signalling your current accessibility levels, and the WACG signalling the ideal standards, carry out gap analysis to compose a priority list of accessibility improvements.
  4. Work through your priority list implementing accessibility optimisations.
  5. As EU member states are permitted to transpose the EAA 2025, it’s important to check for additional regulatory requirements in any specific area of operation.
  6. Conduct frequent accessibility assessments to ensure your website doesn’t fall behind evolving legislation.

What is the European Accessibility Act 2025 based on?

The EAA 2025 is based on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and draws upon the four principles of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), stating that content should be:

  • Perceivable: This means providing text alternatives for non-text content (like images or audio), ensuring that content can be presented in different ways (such as by adjusting text size or contrast), and making sure that content is easily distinguishable regardless of the sensory abilities of the user.
  • Operable: Operability means that users should be able to interact with the interface and navigate through the content effectively. For example, providing keyboard accessibility so that users who cannot use a mouse can still navigate.
  • Understandable: This involves using clear and simple language, organising content logically, and providing instructions to help users understand how to interact with the content effectively.
  • Robust: Robustness refers to the ability of web content to be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies such as screen readers and voice recognition software.

The EAA 2025 enforces WCAG 2.1 specifically. However, this is just the legally mandated baseline. The more advanced WCAG version 2.2 has been published, meaning there are options available to those who wish to do more than the bare minimum to accommodate disabled users.

Website owners can also utilise ARIA (Accessible Rich Internet Applications) to improve accessibility on a broader scale. ARIA provides additional semantic information to assistive technologies, improving the user experience for individuals with disabilities.

Moreover, Google's Lighthouse scoring - a tool for evaluating web page performance and accessibility - includes checks for ARIA implementation. Websites that adhere to ARIA guidelines tend to receive higher accessibility scores than those that don’t.

Will the UK develop its own version of the European Accessibility Act 2025?

The UK government has made no formal announcement regarding the transposition of the EAA 2025 into local law. However, if other EA regulations, such as GDPR, are anything to go by, then it’s certainly possible that the UK will follow suit with something analogous to the EAA in the not-too-distant future.

For this reason, we advise against a dual accessibility system (one for UK audiences and one for EU audiences). Applying the most developed accessibility and inclusivity standards across all your websites will reliably futureproof your online presence.

Are there penalties for non-compliance with the European Accessibility Act 2025?

Those found to be non-compliant after the June deadline will be issued with a fine of up to €1,000,000 depending on the severity and context of the infraction.

Businesses will also be ordered to immediately resolve the accessibility issue(s) in question. Failing to do so may result in products/services being removed from the European market.

The relationship between accessibility and SEO

Many businesses welcome Europe’s accessibility legislation because, beyond the moral imperative, there are several commercial benefits to enhanced accessibility, such as reaching untapped audiences that wield impressive collective purchasing power.

These benefits extend to the realm of digital marketing, as many of the principles of good accessibility cross-over into best practise in SEO. For example, good headline structure, alt tags and navigation without JavaScript aren’t just highly inclusive content elements that support assistive technologies such as screen readers; they make content easier for search engines to crawl and index accurately.

Here’s what David, our Head of SEO, has to say on the relationship between accessibility and SEO:

TDMP have been reviewing accessibility factors on client sites for many years. A good job done can prioritise our client over a competitor in searches and provide an engaging and helpful experience for all.

It’s important to understand the way in which we want the site’s functionality to be delivered, the needs of disabled visitors and the different requirements between physical and non-physical needs — and work in tandem with browsers and devices.

It’s not just a decision of accessibility teams either but a cross stakeholder approach, sometimes involving the clients own legal or marketing teams for instance. The EAA act makes it more important than ever that we get it right.'

Stay compliant with TDMP

Although the 2025 deadline of the European Accessibility Act may seem distant, with so many boxes to tick, we highly recommend starting the process as soon as possible.

Acting swiftly not only affords businesses enough time to meet regulatory obligations but also allows for the gradual implementation of necessary changes, spreading out associated costs and minimising disruptions.

Time is ticking! Contact TDMP today for expert UX assistance — and ensure compliance with the European Accessibility Act before the 2025 deadline.