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With Accessi, you don’t have to be an accessibility expert to be compliant with EN 301 549

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EU Directive for Digital Accessibility

EU Web Accessibility Directive- EN 301 549 was adopted on 22 December 2016 and represents the first-ever European standard for digital accessibility. EN 301 549 was made effective September 23, 2018, and mandates all public sectors of EU member states make their websites, electronic documents, devices, software, and mobile applications accessible to people with disabilities.

The EU Directive was laid out to ensure European citizens can take an active part in the ICT products and services economy. It clamps on all EU member states’ federal, state, regional, and local agencies and vendors. It also affects bodies governed by public law and financed via public contracts and associations formed by them, contractors, and partners of those agencies operating within and outside the European Union.

Like how Section 508 is in the United States references the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level AA, EN 301 549 directive references WCAG 2.1 Level AA standards for making web content perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust for people with disabilities.

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Compliance with the European Standard

With the Europe standard- EN 301 549, Federal agencies of EU members, intending contractors, or contractors are encouraged to prioritize accessibility testing early as a proactive measure to efficiently achieve EN 301 549 compliance.

EN 301 549 also demands these websites and mobile applications to:

  • publish an accessibility statement on their level of compliance,
  • indicating where appropriate, inaccessible content, and the accessible alternative.
  • have a feedback mechanism for users to flag accessibility issues or ask for an accessible alternative of the content.

The European standard also expects periodic monitoring of conformity of public sector websites and apps with the standard by the member states. The required timelines for compliance, monitoring, and enforcement for public sector agencies are:

  • websites published after September 23, 2018, must be compliant by September 23, 2019
  • websites published before September 23, 2018, must be compliant by September 23, 2020
  • mobile applications must be compliant by June 23, 2021.

Failure to be EN 301 549 compliant may result in negative publicity, fines or other legal penalties, and quite possibly consumer backlash. Compliance will:

  • increase your chances of getting any European Federal Government contracts
  • Help you serve a wider audience
  • remove any legal risk
  • improve the overall user experience

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European Accessibility Act

The European Accessibility Act (EAA) was adopted in April 2019 and sets a minimum European-wide accessibility requirement for products and services and ensures barrier-free access. EAA now serves as the European standard for non-discrimination and ensures common accessibility rules across the European Union member states.

The European Accessibility Act covers public and private sectors ICT products and services including websites and applications. The accessibility standard sets the deadlines for member states to introduce the provision into their national laws by 28 June 2022, and application of the measures by 28 June 2025.

Although the EAA is deliberately designed to not be a blanket law affecting all industries, in practice, there are many indications that organizations have to meet the standards of EN 301549 and WCAG 2.1 AA. The accessibility requirement also affects all private companies that provide services for government agencies in Europe and all online businesses.

How to scan your website for EAA/EN301549 compliance

  • Enter a URL/domain.
  • Get an accurate and easy-to-understand audit (with visual illustrations and recommendations).
  • Share the audit report with your team.
  • Start fixing your site and ensure barrier-free access to people with disabilities.

A unique accessibility testing tool

Our free software automatically scans your website and identifies accessibility errors according to WCAG 2.0/2.1- EN 301 549 testing standards and their impact on individuals with a variety of disabilities.

Our automated web accessibility checker assesses the coding of the website and provides a detailed audit report that contains prioritized recommendations to enable you to remove barriers that could prevent people with disabilities from accessing the site.

How it works

The web accessibility scanner is fully automated, sorting your testing categories into:

  • High impact: issues that need urgent attention
  • Medium impact: corrections needed
  • Low impact: require manual review

Our EAA/EN301549 compliance checker provides a report that allows you to filter by:

  • Guidelines (WCAG 2.0/2.1) Level A-AAA
  • Priority (high, medium, and low impact)
  • Tags (CSS, HTML, JavaScript, etc).

Control your audit

The web accessibility checker also provides information on the accessibility barriers, best practices on how to test, and visual examples of wrong and right ways to achieve EN 301 549 compliance

Illustration of moving parts. Variant 2

FAQ - EN 301 549

What is EN 301 549?

All EU member states’ Federal agencies, state, regional, local agencies and intending contractors or contractors of those agencies. Basically all organizations receiving public funds must make sure their websites and applications are accessible.

What are the EN 301 549 accessibility requirements?

By ingraining accessibility in your company culture and making sure all information and communications covered by EN 301 549 are accessible to people with disabilities. Hence, websites and mobile applications must:

  • publish an accessibility statement on their level of compliance, indicating where appropriate, inaccessible content, and the accessible alternative.
  • have a feedback mechanism for users to flag accessibility issues or ask for an accessible alternative of the content.

How do I perform EN 301 549 compliance testing?

By testing your website against the WCAG 2.1 Level AA using the Accessi.org web accessibility checker.

What are the Compliance Timelines for EN 301 549?

The required timelines for compliance, monitoring, and enforcement for public sector agencies are:

  • websites published after September 23, 2018, must be compliant by September 23, 2019
  • websites published before September 23, 2018, must be compliant by September 23, 2020
  • mobile applications must be compliant by June 23, 2021.

What is the European Accessibility Act?

European Accessibility Act (EAA) is the European standard for non-discrimination and ensures common accessibility rules across the European Union member states. It ensures products, services, and information (including ICT and websites and apps) are accessible to people with disabilities.

What is the correlation between EAA and EN 301 549?

European Accessibility Act gave a complementary reference to EN 301 549. Hence, they both put an end to the fragmentation in the EU web accessibility market and ensure digital assets are accessible to people with disabilities.

Is your website EN 301 549 compliant?

Test on Accessi.org