Article 32, and why it sucks! | Craig Abbot

The EAA's Article 32 is the one that people get a bit angry about, particularly in accessibility circles. In brief, it gives companies with existing contracts or customers an additional five years to make their stuff accessible (i.e. until June 2030). Bizarrely, that caveat is even longer for physical self-service machines, which get a whopping twenty years additional grace period. As Craig points out, that feels excessive, particularly given how slow to upgrade those services are in the first place (i.e. they probably need to be upgraded sooner than most digital services).

Still, whilst it's an annoying caveat that will certainly be abused by some companies to kick the can down the line – particularly with internal tooling – it doesn't really offer that large of a loophole. Any new sales, customers, or contracts must be accessible from 2025, so if you're updating your software and hardware anyway, why wouldn't you push that out to all customers?

I guess it gives legacy codebases a pass (the kind where one stubborn client refuses to upgrade for a decade, because they prefer one small feature or have been grandfathered into a sweetheart payment scheme or something), so companies have a five-year runway to sunset them, but considering we've already had a five-year runway it does feel a little unnecessary. Still, as Craig says, they might get some extra leeway, but...

But, come 2030, we'll all be here to nail them to the floor!

Tick-tock.
Tick-tock.

On what Article 32 actually says:

The first part of Article 32 sets up a transitional period that ends on 28 June 2030.
It's a grace period for service providers to continue using products they were already using before the 28 June 2025 cut-off date.
Any new stuff purchased will need to be accessible immediately once that 28 June 2025 deadline passes.
Service contracts that were agreed before 28 June 2025 can keep going without any changes until they expire, but only for a maximum of five years from that date.
Article 32 basically says, if they were lawfully used before 28 June 2025, they can still be used until they're no longer 'economically useful', or up to a maximum of 20 years.

On the annoying 20-year grace period for self-service machines:

This bit is probably the part that sucks the most, because most self-service terminals are already about 20 years out of date! Lets be honest, ticket machines for subway trains and super-market self-checkouts aren't exactly what we think of when we give examples of 'cutting edge technology'!

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