artikel | 24 maj 2024

New regulation introduces stricter accessibility requirements – do your products and services meet the new requirements?

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Providers of e-commerce platforms, apps, banking services and tech are among the economic operators that will be affected by the EU Accessibility Act. In Sweden, the corresponding legislation will enter into force on 28 June 2025, marking an important step towards a more inclusive internal market, where products and services are to be designed in a uniform way that makes them accessible for all citizens.

The Directive will oblige products and services such as computers, mobile phones, websites and e-services to be made more user-friendly and easy-accessible for persons with different impairments. This article aims to provide an overview of the scope of the Directive, the accessibility requirements and the measures companies need to take to fulfil the new requirements.


Which economic operators are covered by the Directive and what are their obligations?

The Directive applies to manufacturers, importers, distributors and service providers of the products and services covered by the Directive. The economic operators have various obligations and requirements that they must fulfil, inter alia:

  • manufacturers must ensure that products placed on the market have been produced in accordance with the accessibility requirements,
  • service providers must ensure that they design and provide services in accordance with the accessibility requirements,
  • importers may only place compliant products on the market and must ensure that the manufacturer has fulfilled the requirements placed on them, and that the device bears the CE marking; and
  • distributors must act with due care in relation to the requirements when making a product available on the market and must verify that the product bears the CE marking and is accompanied by other necessary documents in a language easily understood by consumers.


Which products and services are covered?

The Directive covers a wide range of products and services, including devices such as smartphones and computers, as well as services such as banking, e-commerce and media services.

Products covered include:

  • computers and reading devices/tablets,
  • payment terminals and vending machines,
  • devices used to access communication services, such as smartphones, and
  • devices used to access media services, such as smart TVs, and reading devices/tablets.

Services covered include:

  • e-commerce services,
  • banking services,
  • media services,
  • electronic communication services, such as telephone and e-mail,
  • e-books, and
  • passenger transport services, such as websites and mobile apps.


What accessibility requirements must companies fulfil?

Products and services are to be designed, produced and provided in a way that to the greatest extent possible enables foreseeable use by persons with imperatives. To achieve this aim, the Directive lays down an array of detailed requirements, such as ensuring that information on the use of the products and the presentation of the services is provided in an intelligible manner and can be perceived through more than one sense. Furthermore, websites and mobile apps must be made accessible in a unified and appropriate manner that makes them perceivable, operable, understandable and robust. Banking and e-commerce services are also obliged to provide identification methods, electronic signatures, and payment solutions that are perceivable, operable, understandable and robust.


What measures do companies need to take?

Economic operators within the scope of the Directive must take several measures to ensure compliance with the requirements laid down. To ensure the fulfilment of the requirements, economic operators must inter alia:

  1. Map their products and services to determine which are within the scope of the Directive, including review of procedures and tools to determine whether the products and services fulfil the requirements of the Directive.
  2. Train the employees concerned, such as developers of products and services, as well as managers who can check compliance with the obligations.
  3. Appoint a person responsible for accessibility issues.
  4. Review contracts and templates to ensure that they include accessibility requirements in order to avoid purchasing products and services or choosing suppliers that do not fulfil the requirements.


Concluding remarks 

The obligation to adapt products and services to the Accessibility Directive is not only a matter of compliance with new regulation, but also an opportunity to reach out to a wider customer base and demonstrate social responsibility. However, navigating the new regulation may be difficult. If you are wondering how the Accessibility Directive affects your business, or if you have questions about the new requirements, you are welcome to contact Setterwalls.




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