All are welcome: New accessibility guidelines for B2C webshops

Better perceptibility, simple operation and comprehensible texts – this should already be standard for all online stores. But because this is not the case, there will be new EU guidelines on accessibility in B2C stores from 2024. In future, they will be obliged to provide accessibility in order to promote digital inclusion. This is because, with the introduction of the Barrierefreiheitsstärkungsgesetz (BFSG), online stores should also be easy to find, accessible and usable for people with disabilities.

Ecommerce IT ‐ 04. December 2023

What is required?

The Barrier-Free Strengthening Act (BFSG) requires companies to design their B2C online stores to be barrier-free from 29.06.2025. The guidelines do not currently describe any specific implementation requirements – however, experts assume that the requirements of the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1 (Level AA) must be met.

WCAG – Accessible design of websites

EU Verordnung Barrierefreiheit - Blog Beitrag - Infografik

The 4 principles of accessibility describe the basic principles of EN 301 549 and can be transferred to WCAG 2.1.

In order for all users to be able to perceive the information, a so-called two-channel principle must prevail, which transmits via two different sensory channels. In the case of websites, hearing and sight are therefore ideal – i.e. written text that can also be read aloud.

In order to make it possible for everyone to use it, compromises have to be made, for example with flashing effects for people with epilepsy. Keyboard operability, orientation and time limits also play an important role here.

It is not only important that the content is formulated in a way that everyone can understand, but also that it can be read out loud without any problems.

This refers to compatibility and assistive technologies, i.e. compliance with certain standards for the provision of content.

All, but with exceptions

Although this law is intended to expand accessibility in the EU, certain small companies are exempt. These include all companies that employ fewer than 10 people and either have an annual turnover of no more than EUR 2 million or an annual balance sheet total of no more than EUR 2 million.

Would you also like to make your online store accessible in good time? Then get in touch with us!

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Non-compliance – does that have consequences?

If online stores are not designed barrier-free in accordance with the law or the information requirements in accordance with Annex 3 of the BFSG are not fulfilled, this can result in a fine of up to 100,000 euros in the worst case. You can save yourself this money: Medienwerft has already built up a great deal of expertise in the barrier-free development of websites and web stores. For our client HAMBURG WASSER, for example, we implemented the relaunch of their website barrier-free in accordance with the WCA guidelines (priority level AA).

Hamburg Wasser Case - Crossteaser

We know all about the requirements for accessible websites. We were able to prove this with the website relaunch for HAMBURG WASSER.

In joint workshops, concepts for target group analysis, information architecture and wireframes for the most important pages were designed and then implemented in just under two years. The focus of the work was on digital accessibility. For optimal implementation, we worked with HAMBURG WASSER to anchor barrier-free development in the foundation – i.e. in our concepts.



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