The European Accessibility Act (EAA) (Directive 2019/882) is a law that aims to improve the accessibility of products and services for people with disabilities in the European Union (EU). It was adopted in 2019 and came into force in 2021.
As of 28 June 2025, companies must ensure that the newly marketed products and services covered by the Act are accessible.
The EAA covers a wide range of products and services, not limited to:
- Information and communication technologies (ICT), such as computers, smartphones, and websites
- Transport, such as buses, trains, and airplanes
- Other products and services, such as ATMs, ticketing machines, and banking services
- All public sector and private sector websites
The EAA applies to all businesses that provide products or services in the EU, regardless of their size or location. It also applies to public sector bodies.
This includes websites and apps for government agencies, schools, hospitals, and other public services, as well as e-commerce stores, service providers, agencies, large corporations, and any other business.
Read that again. The EAA will apply to every business in the EU. This means that by 2025, all business websites operating in the EU must be accessible. Micro organizations (those with under 10 employees) may be exempted on the grounds of ‘undue burden’.
The EAA sets out a number of accessibility requirements for products and services. These requirements are based on international standards and best practices.
Businesses and public sector bodies must take all reasonable measures to comply with the EAA requirements. This may mean making changes to their products and services, or providing alternative means of access.
The EAA is enforced by the Member States of the EU. Each Member State must designate a competent authority to monitor compliance with the EAA.
The competent authorities can investigate complaints about accessibility and take enforcement action against businesses and public sector bodies that do not comply with the EAA requirements.
There are a number of steps that businesses and public sector bodies can take to comply with the EAA requirements. These include:
- Identifying the needs of their users: Businesses and public sector bodies should identify the needs of their users with disabilities. This can be done by conducting surveys, focus groups, or usability testing.
- Making changes to their products and services: Businesses and public sector bodies should make changes to their products and services to make them more accessible. For example, websites should be designed to be accessible to people with visual impairments.
- Providing alternative means of access: If it is not possible to make a product or service accessible to everyone, businesses and public sector bodies should provide alternative means of access. For example, a bank could provide a sign language interpreter for a customer who is deaf.
The European Commission has published a number of resources to help businesses and public sector bodies comply with the EAA. These resources include guidance documents, checklists, and training materials.
The EAA’s web accessibility requirements are based on the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1. WCAG is an international standard that provides guidelines for making web content accessible to people with disabilities.
Let’s break down the step-by-step process of what you need to do to make your website accessible.
There is potentially a huge amount of work ahead of you to address your website’s accessibility. That said, the first thing you should do is not to panic. It’s possible to make good progress with web accessibility, even if you don’t currently know where to begin, by using a combination of helpful tools and the expertise of accessibility consultants.
Accessibility is about making the lives of people with disabilities easier. You should consider this an amazing opportunity to help others by building a more inclusive online experience.
Conduct a thorough web accessibility audit
There are two main approaches to finding and remediating web accessibility problems. The first is by using automated tools that check your website for problems, report on them, and help you understand and fix them. The second is by engaging accessibility specialists to manually assess individual web pages and templates, using a range of assistive technologies.
Each has its benefits and drawbacks. Our recommendation is always that you should take a combined approach to web accessibility, with both manual and automated assessments.
Let’s discuss each approach.
Automated accessibility testing
Using software to scan your websites and find accessibility problems allows you to find things you wouldn’t find with manual assessment alone. Automation can cover every page of your site. This is important because accessibility problems are not only restricted to website code, but they arise when inaccessible content is created by your team.
We mentioned the barriers created by having video content without subtitles earlier, or poorly contrasting text content. Your content editors and your designers are responsible for these. Problems with navigation, by using a keyboard, for example, are generally fixed by your development team.
Software can detect common problems like these and alert you to where they are on each page of your site. This means your accessibility audit becomes a lot easier, and you can usually have your entire site scanned in a matter of minutes, depending on its size.
Once the site is assessed, the results are presented to you along with a prioritized list of actions. Most platforms will also give you explanations of the problems and show you how to fix them, usually in plain language to make it easier for your team.
Of course, computers are not capable of finding everything, so this is why automated testing should be undertaken alongside regular manual assessments.
Manual accessibility testing
Backed by years of experience, web accessibility experts study individual pages, templates, themes, and forms, and approach their testing by trying to use your site as a person with disabilities might.
Manual assessment gives you the opportunity to learn how people use your site and offers additional context that automated testing alone cannot. This includes navigating without a mouse, using technologies that read the contents of your website out, or ensuring that the images are correctly labeled with text alternatives if needed.
The drawback is that the process is labor-intensive, and you cannot get full coverage of your entire website using manual testing alone.
Combining automated and manual auditing will give you the most coverage and allow you to create a comprehensive report. This is key to forming your plan for tackling the problems. Without automated testing, you could spend most of that time just trying to find the problems, which is not ideal when time is against you.
To get started with your audit, you should get in touch with Silktide. We offer both automated assessments with our comprehensive accessibility platform and manual auditing from our team of in-house accessibility experts. We’ll give more details about that later in this article.
Develop a remediation plan
Once accessibility issues are identified, then you should develop a plan for remediation.
With the list of issues found through automation, you’ll be able to give your team, contractors, or agency a pre-made list of fixes that they can work through easily.
We already mentioned that accessibility can seem like an overwhelming and complex topic, so that’s why Silktide’s accessibility platform contains bite-sized explanations of every issue it finds. This means that your team can easily understand what they need to do.
The results of your manual assessment are documented, usually in the form of a spreadsheet with a list of action points and compliance failures. Combining this with your automated audit gives you a comprehensive accessibility remediation plan.
Implement the remediation plan
You should start working towards remediation as soon as you have your accessibility audit results.
The responsibility lies with everybody who contributes to your website, not just the web developers. It can be difficult to figure out practically how to split the workload. However, with an automated solution like Silktide it’s very simple to get the right issues in front of the right people.
The majority of accessibility work is in finding the problems and figuring out who is going to fix them and when, so once these important steps are in place, the process of remediation becomes much simpler. You’re able to take a methodical approach, working through the problems step-by-step. It saves your team from being overwhelmed by what would otherwise be an insurmountable task.
Some basic steps you can take to help your website’s accessibility include (but are certainly not limited to):
- Make sure your website is navigable with a keyboard: People with visual or physical impairments often use a keyboard to navigate websites. Make sure that all of the elements on your website can be accessed with a keyboard, including links, buttons, and menus. Do not assume that every user is able to use a pointing device, like a mouse or trackpad.
- Provide text alternatives for images and other non-text content: People with visual impairments cannot see images and other non-text content. Provide relevant text alternatives for important non-text content (any visuals containing information that would be lost if it was not visible on the page).
- Use clear and concise language: Avoid using jargon and technical language that may be difficult for people to understand.
- Make sure your website is responsive: Responsive websites can be viewed on all devices, including smartphones, tablets, and computers. Do not make assumptions as to what device your customers are using.
Train staff to raise accessibility awareness
You should provide training to staff responsible for website content creation and maintenance on accessibility best practices and the importance of website accessibility. It is also important to raise awareness among staff and stakeholders about the consequences of inaccessible websites and the legal requirements for accessibility.
You then need to adopt new policies and procedures so that you maintain an appropriate standard of accessibility.
The difficulty with accessibility is that it’s a complex topic, and if you point people to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (the generally accepted global standards for web accessibility) they’re unlikely to understand them. Silktide has produced a wealth of training material and made it available in the platform, so every issue has a helpful explanation and video. We have extensive materials available on our YouTube channel and we provide accessibility training to your whole organization in the Silktide Academy inside the platform.
Our expert consultants can also work with you to help you craft new policies and provide training workshops.
Monitor and maintain accessibility compliance
Once the accessibility problems have been fixed, you should implement ongoing monitoring and maintenance processes to ensure continued compliance with accessibility standards. These may include regular accessibility audits, user testing, and staying updated with changes in accessibility laws and standards.
Using Silktide, you can assess your website regularly and automatically and be alerted to any new issues. Content creators and contributors can use Silktide to check for accessibility issues on pages before they go live.
The European Accessibility Act is an important piece of legislation that is helping to make the EU a more accessible place for people with disabilities. Businesses and public sector bodies have a responsibility to comply with the EAA requirements and to make their products and services accessible to everyone.
Contact Silktide for a free initial consultation and we’ll give you an accessibility report for your website. The report is interactive and helps you understand the issues, who they affect, and how you can approach fixing them. With it, you can show that you’ve taken immediate and ongoing steps to improve your accessibility.
We’ll also discuss how you can implement auditing, training, remediation, and policies into your organization’s workflows.
Remember, don’t panic. Help is available.