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A Fast-reference Guide for Understanding the EU Accessibility Act – And How Chillistore Can Help You Be Prepared

Everyone wants an equal opportunity. And for the nearly 80 million people with disabilities living in the EU, help is coming in the form of comprehensive new legislation. The EU’s recently ratified “Accessibility Act” introduces a continent-wide set of standards for physical accessibility and, most important, for localization, accessibility standards for all aspects of your business.

Access That Goes Far Beyond the Physical World

While we commonly think of topics like wheelchair accessibility when this topic comes up, the far bigger aspect of this legislation hits localization close to home: connections and communications.

Items like deaf/blind access to ticket machines, cash machines, and digital services from online banking to eBooks and software now have defined standards of accessibility to take into account.

And we know what you’re thinking: “Standards,” “Regulation,” and “Government,” all sound intimidating.

While it’s true that this new legislation is exhaustive and a little intimidating, it’s well worth digging in and learning how it can make your business more accessible to those 80 million potential customers across the EU. And being prepared for the 2025 implementation deadline doesn’t have to be a daunting task – because we’re here to help in two key areas of business communication: Desktop Publishing (DTP) and digital channels (your website and multimedia):

In many ways, you can think about this as a localization effort targeted at people with disabilities – you are simply making the changes needed to connect with their unique communications needs.

Accessibility in DTP: Desktop Publishing Standards for Even Greater Reach

If you’ve been in Localization for any length of time, you’re already well acquainted with re-designing sales collateral and manuals to suit the language, text length, and cultural nuances of a new market.

Seen through that lens, we can view the Accessibility Act as simply another DTP adjustment. And, while the standard intends to better communicate with people with disabilities, these changes will make your communications with otherwise abled customers much more straightforward and accessible. A few points to highlight:

  1. Colors with Good Contrast Between Foreground and Background: Older readers and customers with low contrast sensitivity have difficulty seeing websites with subtle color gradients. Though we love the artful impact of such designs, if it comes at the expense of customer satisfaction, it has to.
  2. Clear Layout and Designs: Complex layouts make it hard for people with visual disabilities or those with cognitive impairments to understand the intent of your site. Simplifying the message with clear headings, simple navigation bars, and consistent styling all aid in fast comprehension.

Accessibility in Content

This isn’t strictly a disabled issue, but it probably goes without saying that writing website content that sounds like a Ph.D. thesis isn’t generally the best way to make a connection with customers – and it represents an extreme challenge for the cognitively impaired. Instead, make your content easy to understand with the following:

  1. Structure: Headings, lists, and separations that create structure.
  2. How you say it: Simple messages that skip the jargon.
  3. Simple Notifications and Feedback: Clear error messages help all users understand navigational errors and know how to fix their errors quickly and easily. This is especially helpful for anyone with a cognitive impairment – not to mention a harried parent who is multitasking.

Web and Multimedia Accessibility: Bringing the Digital World to Everyone

It’s no secret the internet has become vital to nearly everyone in the last decade – and COVID only increased that reliance. While many enjoy ready access, disabled people have been left out of many opportunities.

The good news is, with a few considerations, you can make your website accessible to people with disabilities while also meeting the requirements of the Accessibility Act:

  1. Video Consideration for the Hard of Hearing: Adding subtitles to your video content makes it accessible to deaf and hard-of-hearing customers. It’s simple to implement this change thanks to a plethora of technology options – and we’d, of course, be more than happy to show you some of the options.
  2. Voice Recognition: What many consider a convenience, people with disabilities consider essential. Your website and app can be coded to incorporate voice recognition so customers can search your site, send messages, and more without needing keyboard dexterity.
  3. Text to Speech: Translating the content on your site to voice dictation is essential for blind people and makes your site more user-friendly for all your customers.

  1. Large Links, Buttons and Controls: Apps and websites used on mobile devices require large touch buttons – especially for those with poor dexterity due to arthritis, neuropathy, and other conditions.
  2. Customizable Text: Being able to increase text size for people with low visibility or even dyslexia is a welcome feature. This may require re-coding your website to be in compliance, but, the good news is, these changes also make your site more user friendly for ALL customers.
  3. Keyboard Compatibility: Temporary or permanent mobility limitation can mean tools like a mouse or touch screen can’t be used. Your apps and site should also be coded to be navigated with a keyboard.

A Multi-layered Approach Guarantees Accessibility to All

As you can see, each of the steps above considers a different type of accessibility. By incorporating all 7 steps, your site can be accessible to the broadest number of customers – and that is precisely what the EU Accessibility Act is aiming for.

Need a hand? We Can Help

Our specialties include translation and adaptation work in the DTP realm and on websites, apps, and other multimedia. And we have over a decade of experience with both. The latest EU plan simply adds another opportunity to connect with another customer base. We view it as an opportunity rather than a negative requirement for checking the boxes.

And we’ve got the tools and experience to get you up to speed with the new standards without the headaches. Drop us a line. We’d be happy to discuss it with you so your brand can be ready for when the June 28 deadline rolls around in 2025.

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