May 14, 2024

Impact of The European Accessibility Act for Publishers

Banner image with icons related to Accessibility and European Accessibility Standards
Publishing technology has evolved by leaps and bounds in the last twenty years. The world is deeply interconnected thanks to the adoption of the internet and mobile devices. With continuing digital technology evolution, an increasing sense of awareness about accessibility has developed. The European Accessibility Act (EAA), introduced in 2015 and formally adopted in 2019, is a milestone for ensuring inclusivity in Europe and it affects all publishers that distribute content in the European Union (EU). A compliance deadline was set for June 2025. As it approaches, publishers must address the EAA requirements as no longer optional.

The primary objective of the EAA is to enhance accessibility across a wide range of products and services within the EU region, catering to people with disabilities. This includes both physical and digital mediums.

Alignment with global standards:

The EU consistently leads the charge in promoting equality. The EAA signifies a critical milestone in the EU’s commitment to implementing the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). The EAA will adhere to international best practices in digital accessibility and driving inclusive policies. It will also rigorously uphold the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) laid down by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). This means the EAA will set the pace for the rest of the global landscape.

Impact On Publishers:

The compliance deadline on June 28th, 2025, means publishers can no longer afford to ignore the EAA. The law requires publishers to produce their digital publications in accessible formats in line with the act. The act not only impacts publishers but also impacts the entire supply chain, including retailers, e-commerce sites, and online platforms, all of whom must ensure their content is accessible. When enforced, the EAA will make accessibility a cornerstone of their ethos, advancing accessibility for all. Compliance with the EAA will also enhance user experience and create a more inclusive publishing environment.

Scope for Innovation:

Enforcing the compliance deadline doesn’t necessarily have a negative impact for publishers. In fact, it could spur innovation and creativity, improving the user experience for everyone, not just people with disabilities.

Consider an online bookstore designed with an average user in mind. Enforcing the EAA would necessitate making the bookstore accessible for people with disabilities as well. The bookstore could implement a text-to-speech feature for visually impaired users. This feature could then evolve into an audiobook section, expanding the reach to a wider audience. Another possible outcome could be the implementation of alternative text to images, which could improve the bookstore’s search engine rankings and potentially drive more traffic to the website.

Marketing Incentives for Publishers:

While we discussed the scope for innovation and creativity for publishers, there’s another reason why EAA compliance benefits everyone. It offers potential and significant marketing benefits. Some of the incentives include:

  • Expanding customer base: The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that about 15% of the world’s population have some form of disability. EAA compliance allows publishers to reach a broader audience, including people with disabilities.
  • Enhancing brand image: Compliance with the EAA can significantly enhance a publisher’s brand image. It shows a commitment to inclusivity and accessibility, values important to modern customers.
  • Differentiation in the market: EAA compliance can serve as a unique selling point, differentiating publishers in a competitive market. It provides an edge over competitors who may not yet be fully accessible, attracting a wider range of customers.
  • Avoiding legal complications: Non-compliance with the EAA can lead to substantial fines and could tarnish a publisher’s brand.
  • SEO benefits: Accessible websites often align better with search engine algorithms, leading to enhanced visibility and traffic.


In conclusion, as the EAA compliance deadline approaches, publishers must take action to ensure accessibility readiness. By using Apex CoVantage services, specifically Documenta11y, publishers can efficiently achieve their accessibility compliance goals on time and within budget. This not only ensures EAA compliance but also enhances user experience, fosters innovation and creativity, and provides a unique marketing advantage.