Wake up call for e-commerce – European Accessibility Act is just 1 year away

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If people treat EAA as yet another compliance thing I think they are missing the greater picture, and probably also greater business.

28th of June 2025 – the day for European Accessibility Act – is less than a year away and e-commerce is largely still as inaccessible as before. If your e-commerce has more than 10 employees or more than 2 million Euro turnover per year, then you are in the scope of the coming legislation.

I believe in rewarding instead of punishment, but as accessibility is largely ignored the last 25 years and more, legislation had to do something about it. Services and products like online banking and e-commerce are critical for modern society, and often drivers for innovation and digitalization. If they are not accessible to people with disabilities (permanent, but also situational and temporary), then they discriminate. Stakeholders holding to their obsolete ignorance (“we do not have disabled users”) should consider multiple factors to change their mind:

  • Many people with disabilities don’t identify as disabled, but use assistive technologies and accessibility features every day and prefer when websites and apps work with their way of using their devices and operating systems.
  • People that can’t use your product or service because of inaccessibility will find your competition that offers accessibility and most probably never look back (customers are more loyal when they are not irritated or even discriminated).
  • When you invest in accessibility you also invest in better user experience for all, even for search engines, so consider your return of investment in accessibility is probably better than your search engine optimization investments – at least in the beginning. It doesn’t help to attract people that can’t use your site or app, you are just wasting money then.

E-commerce platforms and hosted services

I can see already now that some users of larger e-commerce software as a service (SaaS) platforms may actually get some accessibility for free, when those “frameworks for hire” will embrace the European Accessibility Act and perhaps even manage to get accessibility into their culture. But they can’t make your e-commerce accessible if your content isn’t accessible. It doesn’t help if your shop is accessible, but the products you sell in it are not. You will probably hear from them soon, if they really understand the cross-role responsibilities. If not – invest in accessibility trainings yourself before it’s too late.

Custom, tailored e-commerce solutions

That leaves out custom-made solutions, so do check with your vendor today if you are out-sourcing your e-commerce. Get accessibility as a requirement, not only theoretically, but also in your contracts. Make sure you do your part though – content is often overseen and vendors are often not in control of the content. Co-operation, cross-role responsibilities, common knowledge building are the only way. Invest in accessibility trainings together with your vendors, learn, fix and improve together.

And please – don’t believe in shortcuts – AI powered solutions that will just fix everything for you are technically not possible. Sure you can use “AI” for some tasks, but do make sure end results provide value to your customers.

Are you a vendor of e-commerce solutions?

If you are a vendor, and you managed to read the post to here – then I guess you understand the situation. You have a large responsibility – with every design choice and every code / component / technique – you can either make or brake accessibility for your customers.

Invest into knowledge of accessibility if you haven’t got the chance until now before your customers will demand it (or go to other vendors that understand the situation). Invest into accessibility trainings and do you part, then support your clients to make their part.

Authorities need to wake up as well

Sure, it depends on the country and specialization already in place, but it seems that authorities aren’t very proactive as well. Society needs awareness, and authorities need to to do their part to promote accessibility (and the accessibility act itself).

I know that a lot of authorities are also behind schedule getting ready, but they should at least work on the awareness now. Some practical parts of EAA are not clear yet, that does not help, but authorities should at least provide the known facts with help of media.

Accessibility professionals can be overbooked soon

The demand for accessibility professional services at the moment is below capacity (in most cases), I suspect that because of lack of awareness. But if (better said when) awareness rise we may get into situations where there will not be enough of us to cover all the needs in the market.

This can be seen as a good thing for somebody, but is really not as it can become a quality problem. And quality problem in accessibility often means inaccessible solutions, further causing barriers to people with disabilities and their discrimination.

It can also cause reliance on shady products or services (like for example accessibility overlays), because people can get desperate and fall for over-promising aggressive marketing.

Conclusion – know your accessibility role, play it right

Everybody benefits from accessibility – you, your clients, their clients, search engines and even “AI”.

Sure, it takes time, but I am confident that most of issues can be fixed quite quickly with cooperation and understanding. Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and EN 301 549 (that goes beyond WCAG) are baseline, so even if your products and services conform them it can still be difficult for some users to really use them, that’s a fact. But they are the best standards we have for now. And to go beyond – ask the users. Ask people with disabilities. Learn and improve.

Nevertheless – don’t wait for legislation. It’s always retroactive, late to the game.

It doesn’t matter what is your role – be proactive, become better at accessibility and with it – become future proof with doing the right thing and doing good business at the same time.

Author: Bogdan Cerovac

I am IAAP certified Web Accessibility Specialist (from 2020) and was Google certified Mobile Web Specialist.

Work as digital agency co-owner web developer and accessibility lead.

Sole entrepreneur behind IDEA-lab Cerovac (Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility lab) after work. Check out my Accessibility Services if you want me to help your with digital accessibility.

Also head of the expert council at Institute for Digital Accessibility A11Y.si (in Slovenian).

Living and working in Norway (🇳🇴), originally from Slovenia (🇸🇮), loves exploring the globe (🌐).

Nurturing the web from 1999, this blog from 2019.

More about me and how to contact me:

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