What is the EAA / EN301549?
The European Accessibility Act (EAA) is a piece of legislation that aims to promote equal access to goods and services for people with disabilities throughout the European Union. It was adopted in 2019 and will be fully applicable across all EU member states by 2025.
The EAA establishes minimum accessibility requirements for a wide range of products and services, including computers, smartphones, e-books, ATMs, ticketing machines, televisions, and banking services. It also covers transportation services, such as buses, trains, and ships, and requires that websites and mobile applications for public services be made accessible.
In addition to the EAA, the European Standard EN301549 has also been developed to provide guidelines for accessibility in public procurement of ICT products and services.
Who is affected by the EAA / EN301549?
The EAA applies to a wide range of products and services, including computers, televisions, smartphones, ATMs, e-books, and banking services, among others. It covers both the public and private sectors, including businesses, public bodies, and other organizations. Therefore, any company or organization that produces, sells, or provides goods and services covered by the EAA must comply with its accessibility requirements.
EN301549 is a technical standard that provides guidelines for the accessibility of ICT products and services in the EU. It applies to a broad range of products and services, including websites, software, mobile applications, electronic documents, and hardware, among others. It is particularly relevant for public sector organizations and entities that are involved in public procurement, as they are required to comply with the accessibility requirements specified in EN301549.
What are the EAA / EN301549 requirements?
While the European Accessibility Act doesn't specifically mention the WCAG standard, the accessibility requirements for websites and mobile apps outlined in both the EAA and the WCAG are based on the same four fundamental principles of accessibility, which stipulate that accessible products should be perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust.
EN301549 sets out specific requirements for accessibility in areas such as information and communication technology (ICT) equipment, software, and services, as well as websites, audiovisual media, and e-books. It is based on the WCAG 2.1 Level AA and also includes requirements related to assistive technologies and alternative formats.
What are the costs associated with non-compliance?
The costs associated with non-compliance with the EAA and EN301549 can be significant for organizations. The exact costs will depend on the severity of the non-compliance and the jurisdiction in which the organization operates and might include fines, legal fees, lost business opportunities, and damage to the organization's reputation. It is the responsibility of member states to implement penalties for non-compliance, which must be both effective and proportionate to discourage violations.
Legal fees can also be a significant cost associated with non-compliance. Organizations may need to hire legal counsel to help them understand the requirements of EAA and EN301549 and to defend against any legal action taken against them.
Lost business opportunities can also be a cost of non-compliance. If an organization is not compliant with EAA and EN301549, they may not be able to participate in public tenders or win contracts with government agencies or other organizations that require compliance with these standards.
Finally, non-compliance can also damage an organization's reputation. Failure to provide accessible products and services can be seen as discriminatory and can lead to negative publicity and a loss of trust among customers and stakeholders.
How can Clym help?
Clym believes in striking a balance between digital compliance and your business needs, which is why we offer businesses the following:
- All-in-one platform: One interface combining Privacy and Accessibility compliance with global regulations, at an affordable price;
- Seamless integration into your website;
- Adaptability to your users’ location and applicable regulation;
- Customizable branding;
- Ready Compliance: Covering 30+ data privacy regulations;
- Six preconfigured accessibility profiles, as well as 25+ display adjustments that allow visitors to customise their individual experience.