European Accessibility Act 2025 for Websites and Digital Products

Maša Gavran

European Accessibility Act 2025 for Websites and Digital Products

The European Accessibility Act is a directive issued by the European Union, mandating that all member states implement accessibility guidelines for products and services by June 28, 2025, and I will focus here on digital products.

This directive is part of the EU’s initiative to ensure both government and private companies comply with accessibility standards, making digital products accessible to people with disabilities. It aims to address the gap left by the limited voluntary adoption of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG, more details in chapter 2) by organizations.


  1. Who has to comply with the European Accessibility Act and why is it good for everyone?
  2. Which specific accessibility standards have to be implemented?
  3. Assessing your website for accessibility issues?
  4. How to apply accessibility in website design?

1. Who has to comply with the European Accessibility Act and why is it good for everyone?

The European Accessibility Act 2025 sets forth regulations aimed at enhancing accessibility across various sectors within the EU. These are the digital sectors the products / websites of which must comply with the EAA:

  • Public Sector Websites
  • E-Commerce: Online retailers and e-commerce platforms will need to ensure their websites and mobile apps are accessible to users with disabilities. This includes making sure that product listings, checkout processes, and customer service features are accessible. —> It is also worth mentioning that private companies are obligated to ensure that their communication methods, including customer support services and information dissemination, are accessible to all individuals, including those with disabilities. (by Supreet Singh)
  • Banking and Financial Services: Websites and mobile apps offering banking and financial services, including online banking, loan services, and investment platforms, must be accessible. This ensures that individuals with disabilities can independently use these services.
  • Telecommunications
  • Transport Services: Transport service providers must make their websites and mobile applications accessible. This includes booking systems, travel updates, and customer service features.
  • Utilities and Services: Providers of essential services such as electricity, gas, water, and digital services (e.g., internet providers) must ensure their websites and apps are accessible.
  • Healthcare: Websites and apps related to healthcare services, including hospitals and clinics, and insurance providers, need to comply with the Act to ensure that individuals with disabilities have access to healthcare information and services.
  • Education: Educational institutions and providers of online learning platforms or courses must make their websites and applications accessible.

 Exempt entities:

  • Microenterprises, defined as businesses employing fewer than 10 people with an annual turnover or balance sheet not exceeding 2 million euro, are exempt from compliance in 2025.
  • NGOs, schools, public service broadcasters, micro-businesses, etc. are also exempt.

Even though your company might be exempt, applying accessibility standards could really make you stand out from the rest by opening your product or services to people with disabilities. Accessibility issues give your business the chance to connect with a bigger, maybe still untapped client group and to get a good Return on Investment.

In 2022, 27% of EU population over the age of 16 had some form of disability, according to Eurostat statistics – that means 101 million or every fourth adult in EU.

Applying accessibility guidelines can also positively impact SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Here’s how:

  • Semantic HTML: WCAG encourages the use of semantic HTML, which helps search engines better understand the structure and content of web pages. This can improve search engine indexing and ranking.
  • Text Alternatives for Non-Text Content: Providing descriptive alt text for images and other non-text content not only helps users with disabilities but also provides valuable information to search engines, improving the accessibility and relevance of your content.
  • Proper Heading Structure: WCAG guidelines emphasize the importance of using proper heading structure (H1, H2, H3, etc.) to organize content. Search engines use heading tags to understand the hierarchical structure of a page, so using them appropriately can improve SEO.
  • Descriptive Link Text: WCAG encourages the use of descriptive link text, which not only improves accessibility but also helps search engines understand the context and relevance of linked content.
  • Mobile Accessibility: A factor that search engines consider in ranking mobile search results.
  • Page Load Speed: A known ranking factor in search engine algorithms.
  • User Experience Signals: Many aspects of WCAG focus on improving user experience, such as providing clear navigation, ensuring readability, and reducing usability barriers. Positive user experience signals can indirectly impact SEO rankings.

2. Which specific accessibility standards have to be implemented?

All of the European Accessibility Act requirements are largely based on Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1, with some additional provisions.

There are three levels of conformance criteria, and your website / product should comply with the least minimum, which is the A level. However, the AA (Standard) level is recommended, while AAA (Enhanced) Level is for more specialized software, as it provides the most accessible experience for users with disabilities but may be more challenging to achieve and maintain.

When it comes to specific guidelines, here are the categories you have to apply from the WCAG 2.1 standards, with examples:

Perceivable (Guidelines 1.1–1.4):

  • Provide text alternatives for non-text content (1.1):

Example: If your website contains images, provide descriptive alt text for each image so that users who cannot see the images (due to visual impairments or slow internet connections) can understand their content or function.

  • Provide alternatives for time-based media (1.2):

Example: If your website includes videos or audio content, provide captions for videos and transcripts for audio content to ensure that users who are deaf or hard of hearing can access the information.

  • Create content that can be presented in different ways without losing meaning (1.3):

Example: Ensure that your website content is structured using semantic HTML so that users can navigate and understand it using various assistive technologies, such as screen readers. This allows users to access the content in different ways without losing its meaning.

  • Make it easier for users to see and hear content (1.4):

Example: Ensure that the text on your website has sufficient colour contrast with the background to make it readable for users with low vision. Additionally, provide options for users to adjust the text size or customize the appearance of the website to accommodate their visual or auditory needs.

 Operable (Guidelines 2.1–2.5):

  • Make all functionalities available from a keyboard (2.1):

Example: Ensure that all interactive elements on your website, such as links, buttons, and form fields, can be accessed and operated using only a keyboard, without requiring a mouse.

  • Provide users enough time to read and use content (2.2):

Example: Avoid using automatic page refreshes or redirects that do not provide users with enough time to read or interact with content. Allow users to adjust the timing of any time-limited content or actions.

  • Do not design content in a way that is known to cause seizures (2.3):

Example: Avoid using flashing or rapidly changing content that could trigger seizures in users with epilepsy or other photosensitive conditions. Ensure that your website complies with guidelines for flashing content and does not include any elements that exceed safe thresholds.

  • Provide ways to help users navigate, find content, and determine where they are (2.4):

Example: Include clear and consistent navigation menus, headings, and landmarks to help users understand the structure of your website and easily find the content they are looking for. Provide breadcrumb navigation or other indicators to show users their current location within the website.

  • Make it easier for users to operate functionality through various inputs beyond the keyboard (2.5):

Example: Provide alternative input methods to accommodate users who may have difficulty using a traditional keyboard or mouse.

 Understandable (Guidelines 3.1–3.3):

  • Make text content readable and understandable (3.1):

Example: Use clear and concise language in your website content to ensure that it is understandable to users of all literacy levels. Break up long blocks of text into smaller paragraphs and use headings and bullet points to improve readability.

  • Make web pages appear and operate in predictable ways (3.2):

Example: Ensure that the layout and functionality of your website are consistent across pages so that users can predict how elements will behave and where to find information. Avoid unexpected changes in layout or behaviour that could confuse users.

  • Help users avoid and correct mistakes (3.3):

Example: Provide clear and descriptive error messages when users make mistakes filling out forms or completing actions on your website. Offer suggestions for correcting errors and ensure that users can easily navigate back to correct any mistakes they’ve made.

 Robust (Guideline 4.1):

  • Maximize compatibility with current and future user agents, including assistive technologies (4.1):

Example: Use standardized HTML, CSS, and JavaScript code to ensure that your website is compatible with a wide range of browsers, devices, and assistive technologies. Avoid relying on proprietary technologies or features that may not be supported in all user agents.

3. Assessing your website for accessibility issues?

You can check your website accessibility manually or automatically. Your developers can also help you check your website for accessibility issues like html semantics and ARIA attributes. Also, Google’s Dev tools have some very good manual and automatic checkers.

For example, you can use HTML selector in Dev tools to go over your site manually and check for accessibility issues on buttons, links, and texts to see whether they have a good contrast, name, or role and whether they are keyboard focusable:

You can also create a Lighthouse report from Dev tools, which automatically checks your website for performance, SEO, and accessibility issues.

However, you should bear in mind that these tools don’t show you the full picture; they do not check e.g. heading hierarchy, or whether your buttons have minimum tappable size. There are also variations of accessibility plugins for Chrome that can show you some accessibility issues but most of these show you just some parts and not the full picture.

On the other hand, all of these accessibility standards don’t have to be tested in production. The designers can check their designs before launching a website or a product into development.

There are some very useful plugins for designers using Figma, such as:

4. How to apply accessibility in website design?

WCAG 2.1 standards provide guidance on typography size, link design, button size, tappable area size, and images to ensure accessibility for users with disabilities. Here’s a summary of the most important criteria:

Typography Size:

  • Text should be resizable up to 200% without loss of content or functionality.
  • Use relative units like percentages or ems for font sizes to allow users to adjust text size easily.
  • Avoid using small font sizes or fixed-width fonts, as they can be difficult for users with low vision to read.

Link Design:

  • Links should be visually distinguishable from surrounding text through colour, underline, or other styling.
  • Ensure that links have sufficient contrast with the background to be easily identifiable.
  • Avoid relying solely on colour to indicate links, as some users may suffer from colour blindness.

Button Size and Tappable Area Size:

  • Buttons and interactive elements should have a minimum size to be easily tappable or clickable.
  • The recommended minimum touch target size for interactive elements is at least 44 x 44 pixels, to accommodate users with motor impairments or touch screen limitations.
  • Provide enough spacing between interactive elements to prevent accidental activations, especially on touch devices.


  • All images should have descriptive alt text that conveys the content or function of the image to users who cannot see it.
  • Decorative images should have empty alt attributes (alt=””) to indicate to screen readers that they are purely decorative and convey no meaningful content.
  • Images used as links should have descriptive alt text that indicates the destination of the link, and the link text should be descriptive and meaningful on its own.


Although EU has issued a directive on complying with WCAG standards, this shouldn’t be just a checklist but a true opportunity to design your products with accessibility in mind from now on.

Many people live with some form of disability, maybe just a subtle visual impairment, like needing a higher prescription. However, these regulations aren’t just about disabilities. They also involve aiding people in unique situations, like mothers holding their newborns in one hand and trying to make a phone call with the other, which would require bigger buttons to press for easier use (this is the first example that popped into my mind ????).

When designing, try to have empathy for each and one of those people who may be struggling with a disability or some tricky situation in their lives.

Finally, “To avoid biases or wrong assumptions, test with diverse range of users,” as best said by Vitaly Friedman.

The deadline for Member States to apply these measures is 28 June 2025. The fines for not complying in time will be defined by each member state on their own.