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Marketing Agency Leadership Accessibility

The European Accessibility Act: Will it help or hinder advertising creativity?

By Ben Furnival | Digital Operational Director

APS Group

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February 5, 2024 | 5 min read

Leveled-up European accessibility regulation, locked in for next year, is an opportunity for people who make websites to do better by all users, says Ben Furnival of APS Group.

A sky filled with colorful hot air balloons

The European Accessibility act will be here soon - but is that a good thing for advertising creativity? / Ian Dooley via Unsplash

In just over a year (June 2025), the new version of the European Accessibility Act (EAA) comes into force, aimed at making some everyday products and services accessible for people with disabilities. But what does this mean for brands and their creativity?

The first rule of communication is to ‘know your audience’. This is especially pertinent here. Almost one in five Europeans have a disability according to the European Council: some temporary, some permanent, and this includes many older people.

So, legislation that allows more people to access and enjoy products and services can only be a good thing, right? Of course! But it doesn’t come without challenges for brands, and none more so than those in the fields of design and creativity.

EAA, websites, and creativity

The new legislation largely focuses on digital communications. Where we see the most requirements will be for websites. Why? Because your website is the first place customers go to when they want to find out more about you and your brand. Everything from colors to content will need to be considered, so brand leaders could be forgiven for getting a little worried about walking the tightrope between accessibility and design.

Yet, when I asked my team about inclusive design and the proposed changes, there was nothing but positivity. That’s because it forces you and your team to think outside the box, problem solve and think about new perspectives. And that has stoked a creative fire. Yes, there is perhaps a longer process needed, including testing and reviewing, but once a solution is deployed and successful, the satisfaction of a job well done is unrivaled.

As my colleague Ben Furnival, digital director at APS explains, “from a digital perspective the European Accessibility Act signifies a pivotal step towards a more inclusive online environment. By prioritizing accessibility, it not only enhances the user experience for those with disabilities but also challenges digital creators to innovate. While implementation may pose challenges, the act ultimately encourages a more conscientious and forward-thinking approach to digital design and development.”

A way forward for all

There are many positives to carry forward when catering for accessibility; in fact, accessibility makes perfect sense, whichever way you look at it. What’s not to like about making your website and digital communications available to the widest possible audience? That’s about 16 million people in the UK alone, with an estimated spending power of £275bn (about $350bn) a year, according to disability charity Scope. We all know that it’s more expensive to find new customers than cater for existing ones and retaining their loyalty and business by improving the accessibility of products, services and information is a tried and tested strategy.

Plus, digital accessibility is a priority for many clients. Companies should build it into their digital communications from the get-go. Public sector organizations, including the government, have pioneered accessibility for many years and are monitored closely by national organizations (like the Government Digital Service in the UK) to ensure continued compliance.

Nevertheless, many brands still have a long way to go towards compliance, and to finding the balance between creativity and total accessibility. Is your business ready for the challenge?

Marketing Agency Leadership Accessibility

Content by The Drum Network member:

APS Group

We co-create with our clients to produce award-winning strategic thinking and creative, partnering with some of the largest brands across the world. From impactful brand propositions, engaging digital content and creative outputs across print, audio, animation, video, or digital, we offer a fully end-to-end service. We are APS Group. Let’s make more possible.

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