June 2024

Digital accessibility 3/3 - The Accessibility Reinforcement Act

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What is the BFSG? What is it not? And what do you need to bear in mind if you have a website? Part 3 of the three-part series.

At last! Accessibility is coming. For real now. Not for everyone, but for many. And it's coming very soon. From June 28, 2025, the time has come. The reason for this is the Accessibility Reinforcement Act (BFSG for short). The aim: "the equal and non-discriminatory participation of people with disabilities, restrictions and older people." Sounds good at first, doesn't it?


  • The BFSG is a law that aims to improve access to products and services for people with disabilities. 
  • It implements an EU directive on accessibility and primarily affects digital products and services such as websites and apps, terminals, smartphones, etc.
  • The aim is to break down barriers that restrict participation in social life. 
  • There is criticism that the law does not go far enough and allows too many exceptions, particularly with regard to the transition periods for implementing accessibility. 
  • All manufacturers, retailers and service providers who sell certain products or offer services are affected by the BFSG, with exceptions for micro-enterprises. 
  • It is important to note that all affected products and services must comply with the new regulations by June 28, 2025 at the latest. 
  • There are specific requirements for implementation, compliance is monitored by market surveillance authorities and fines are imposed for non-compliance.

What is the BFSG?

The Accessibility Improvement Act aims to improve access to products and services. It aims to ensure that people with disabilities are able to use information and technologies on an equal footing.

With the BFSG, Germany is implementing the EU directive on accessibility. This includes regulations for digital products and services such as websites, mobile applications and e-book readers. The aim is to remove barriers that restrict participation in society.

The BFSG requires companies to design their products and services in such a way that they are accessible to all users, which means that they must meet accessibility requirements.

By the way: A look at the wording of the law is also worthwhile for laypeople. This is because small but important details are sometimes lost in summaries and guides like this one. And you can also find out what the legislators mean by a "universal computer".

Graphic on the topic of the Accessibility Reinforcement Act

What is the BFSG not?

Disability associations see the BFSG as an important step towards greater inclusion. At the same time, however, professional associations in Germany, such as the German Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, believe that the law does not go far enough and allows too many exceptions. 

The long transition periods that prevent the rapid implementation of an inclusive society are particularly criticized. For example, existing ATMs do not have to be barrier-free until 2025, and newly installed ATMs do not even have to be barrier-free until 2040. This is seen as too slow to achieve true accessibility. 

In addition, the law does not cover access to buildings with barrier-free facilities such as vending machines. There are therefore still many unresolved problems. Disability associations are therefore calling for stronger legal tools to improve and enforce the implementation of the law. They also want more funding to be made available for monitoring the market.

Who is affected by the BFSG?

Affected is perhaps the wrong word. Because the legislators had something else in mind. Quote: "Clear and uniform standards should therefore strengthen the internal market and contribute to greater availability of accessible products and services, including at low cost." So it's more about enabling, not prohibiting. 

Nevertheless, the circle of market participants who have to ensure the accessibility of their products and services is growing. What previously applied primarily to public institutions is now also becoming a requirement for certain private companies. They must now also consistently implement the accessibility guidelines for their products and services. Emphasis on "certain" companies.

The BFSG applies to all manufacturers, dealers and importers who sell certain products. Providers of certain services are also affected. Micro-enterprises are also exempt from the law. These are companies with fewer than 10 employees and an annual turnover of no more than two million euros.

So if something from this list applies to you, you should take action:


  • Smartphones, tablets, computers, notebooks including operating systems
  • Payment terminals including software
  • Televisions with Internet access and routers
  • ATMs, ticket machines, check-in machines
  • interactive self-service terminals for the provision of information, with the exception of terminals in vehicles, aircraft, ships and rail vehicles
  • Terminal equipment for telecommunications or for access to audiovisual content
  • E-book readers


  • Telecommunications (telephony, messenger)
  • Interregional and national passenger transportation
  • Banking services
  • Electronic business transactions with consumers (web stores, ticket stores, bookings)

The last point in particular probably applies to many apps or websites. However, it is always about the sale or purchase of products or services. Purely informative websites are therefore not affected by the BFSG. Neither are websites aimed at B2B customers, as these are not consumers within the meaning of the law.

When do you have to do something?

You should take action now at the latest, or better still, be really active. This is because the law applies in principle from June 28, 2025, which is to be understood as the deadline. Services or products that are brought into circulation after this date must comply with the regulations. In other words, they must be accessible by then.

But even here there are a few exceptions:

The law does not apply to certain content that was already published on websites or in other applications before June 28, 2025. This includes, for example, videos, audio, maps, Office documents, third-party content or archives. These therefore do not have to be adapted retrospectively.

Service providers can continue to use the products that they were already using before the deadline. They can continue to do so for another 5 years, i.e. until June 2030. If there are contracts for services that apply beyond the cut-off date, these may also continue to exist until 2030. 

An even longer transition period applies to self-service terminals. They may continue to be operated until the end of their useful life. However, no longer than 15 years after commissioning.

What do you have to do?

The Accessibility Reinforcement Act sets clear requirements for products and services to ensure that they are easy to use for everyone. This involves, for example, perception via at least two senses, adaptation in terms of size, brightness and contrast or the design of packaging and instructions. The requirements according to the BFSG are set out in this ordinance .

These aspects should be taken into account with regard to websites or apps:

  • Multisensory perception: Make sure that content is accessible not only visually but also acoustically. Texts should be able to be read aloud and important information must also be understandable for people with visual impairments.
  • Visual design: Ensure sufficient contrast, adjustable font sizes and clear structures. Elements should be easily recognizable even with color vision deficiencies.
  • Usability: Your website or app must also be easy to navigate for people with limited fine motor skills. This applies to the size of control elements and responsiveness to different input methods such as touchscreens or keyboards.
  • Comprehensibility: Make sure that the content is easy to understand. Avoid unnecessarily complicated language and offer explanations for technical terms.
  • Robustness: Your digital offerings should also be compatible with various assistance technologies such as screen readers.
  • Testing and feedback: Conduct regular tests with users who have different disabilities and adapt the application based on their feedback.
  • Declaration of conformity: Create a declaration in which you confirm that your website or app meets the requirements of the BFSG. This is important in order to meet legal requirements and document the accessibility of your offering.

This is largely in line with the current guidelines for accessibility (WCAG 2.0 or BITV 2.0). You can find out what you can do here in detail in the article "Digital accessibility 2/3 - Checklist for an accessible website". This will put you well on the way to complying with the provisions of the BFSG.

How is this controlled and are there penalties?

A law is only worth something if it can be enforced. The BFSG is the responsibility of the market surveillance authority of the respective federal state. It carries out spot checks, even without a specific reason, and determines whether market participants are complying with the law.

If, for example, your website is not compliant, the authority will point this out and ask you to bring it into compliance. Within a certain period of time, of course. If this does not happen repeatedly, the authority can order your website to be shut down.

If products or services are not as they should be - i.e. do not comply with the BFSG - consumers can report this to the responsible market surveillance authority in the respective federal state. Consumers can also be represented by an association recognized under the Disability Equality Act. So you are not alone.

If the services or products do not comply with the provisions of the BFSG, they must be recalled in the worst case. In addition, fines of between 10,000 and 100,000 euros may be imposed, depending on the offense committed.

How should this be approached practically?

In any case, keep calm and approach the whole thing as a "normal project". Step by step. 

First of all, check whether your product or service falls within the scope of the BFSG. If not, you can still take care of accessibility. This is always a good idea (more on this in this article "Digital accessibility - the absolute basics")

If you have a website or app and conduct e-commerce with your customers, then you should feel addressed by the BFSG. First of all, you need an overview of the current situation. The best way to do this is with an accessibility check. This checks how accessible your website or app already is. To get started, you can use online tools such as the "WAVE Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool". These tools quickly show you where there are still problems, especially from a technical perspective. Also take a look at your content and visuals. Do you offer alternatives to video and audio content? Do you already have transcripts? Do you offer content in simple or easy language? Do your images have meaningful descriptive texts? Is the color contrast high enough? Is the font easy to read? 

You use the results of the check to create an action plan. Which measures can be implemented quickly and easily? Which might take a little longer? Which are required by the BSFG? Can measures be implemented on the existing website or would a relaunch make more sense? Define responsibilities and implement the measures consistently.

Also think about structures and processes that monitor, test and further develop accessibility in your company. Seek external help. Through people with disabilities who can test your website or app or through associations and organizations that can support you with the implementation.

Click here for part 1 of the series: "The absolute basics".

Click here for part 2: "Accessible website checklist"

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