Digital Trust Index 2024 The State of Digital Accessibility in Europe

Digital services are the backbone of our economy and society. Trust in the digital world is crucial. The Digital Trust Index by Craftzing assesses the trustworthiness of European websites, starting with a key question:
How accessible is the web today?

Read the report

1. Summary 94% of European websites fail accessibility requirements, leaving millions at a disadvantage

  • Over 260,000 European websites were tested for accessibility issues. For Belgium, 7,408 pages were assessed.

  • All tested countries score badly. Norway, Finland and Sweden score best, while Czechia, Romania and Hungary close ranks. Belgium ranks seventh, in the middle of the pack.

  • The most common issues are insufficient colour contrast and a lack of descriptive text for images, links, and buttons. These problems pose significant obstacles. Yet, they are relatively easy to fix.

  • One year from now (June 28th, 2025) the European Accessibility Act enforces accessibility requirements for essential products and services. European countries are clearly not ready for this. Companies and organisations may be fined if they don’t comply.

  • The Digital Trust Index 2024 is an annual research initiative conducted by the digital advisory firm Craftzing to measure the trustworthiness of digital platforms. Each quarter, the index focuses on one trust aspect. This edition focuses on accessibility. It’s the first time a research has been conducted on a sample of European websites this large.

2. Impact Digital trust is about everyone participating in our digital society

Technology is permeating every part of our society. From making a doctor’s appointment and ordering food, to using e-gyms, banking, or meeting new people and engaging with culture and entertainment. Digital solutions are becoming increasingly essential. They offer efficiency and improvements for both companies and users. But not all users benefit equally.

Not everyone is able to quickly adopt new applications and keep track of a multitude of digital services. Is an application easy to use and understand? Does it add value? And is it built with accessibility in mind, not excluding anyone?

Over 100 million Europeans [1], one in four adults, have some form of disability. Mobility, visual, hearing, cognitive, and other impairments, whether permanent or temporary, are common.

If we want people to fully trust a digital society, we need to make sure that our digital products and services are accessible and trustworthy. Europe is contributing to this effort with the European Accessibility Act [2]. This act mandates that companies and organisations providing essential digital services and products meet accessibility requirements by June 28th, 2025.

3. Results Europe is not ready

So we wondered: how is Europe doing so far, with the Accessibility Act becoming a reality one year from now?

According to our research, European companies and organisations are far from ready. We tested 260,000 homepages of European websites using an automated tool that validates these websites against a sub-set of WCAG requirements. 94% of all tested websites fail at least one of our tests, one in four fail more than three.

European websites

94% Fail

of European websites fail to meet accessibility requirements, excluding many users.



When ranking the data on the percentage of a country’s dataset that fails at least one test, Nordic countries slightly outperform the rest of Europe. However, no country has an acceptable level of websites free from accessibility issues.

Map of Europe with results per country. Details in table below with caption Ranked test results per member state. Map of Europe with results per country. Details in table below with caption Ranked test results per member state.

Automated tests are limited. About a third of accessibility requirements can be tested this way, and not all tests give conclusive results for every page. Our results don’t reflect a website’s true compliancy with accessibility requirements, but do show real accessibility issues that have to be fixed in order to become compliant.

We’ve ran a total of 16 million tests on our dataset of homepages, of which 6.4 million returned conclusive results: fail or pass. One in eight conclusive tests failed.

The following table ranks the eighteen tested countries on percentage of websites that fail at least one test from least fails (Norway with 87.68%) to most fails (Hungary with 96.31%).

Ranked test results per member state
Rank Member state Homepages tested Pages with failed tests (%)
1 Norway 4,439 87.68
2 Finland 4,670 88.05
3 Sweden 8,361 89.28
4 Austria 7,621 92.36
5 Netherlands 30,392 93.11
6 Germany 60,565 93.97
7 Belgium 7,408 94.24
8 France 22,870 94.35
9 Denmark 10,088 94.7
10 Slovakia 4,400 95.16
11 Spain 12,090 95.17
12 Portugal 4,551 95.32
13 Greece 7,926 95.6
14 Italy 21,721 95.63
15 Poland 22,935 95.73
16 Czechia 11,308 95.76
17 Romania 10,749 96.15
18 Hungary 7,985 96.31

The following table shows how many homepages failed multiple of our tests. Each test can have many failures, or violations, against it. For example: a design that uses very low contrast, hard to read colour combinations will most likely have many violations against the 'colour contrast' test.

Multiple failed test results
≥ 1 failed test (%) ≥ 2 failed tests (%) ≥ 3 failed tests (%) ≥ 5 failed tests (%)
93.81 40.49 26.89 11.44

4. Common issues The spotlight on common accessibility hurdles

Every country in our dataset returned the same list of most failed tests. All of these pose real obstacles to a wide range of users, with or without disabilities. Most of them, however, are relatively easy to fix by people that have knowledge of accessibility. All of them can be prevented by building products and services with digital inclusion in mind.

Colour contrast

Ensure all text elements have sufficient colour contrast

Link name

Links must have discernible text

Image alt

Images must have alternative text

Button name

Buttons must have discernible text

Page language

<html> element must have a lang attribute

Distinguishable links

Links must be distinguishable without relying on colour

Colour contrastLow contrast text

This rule checks for elements with insufficient colour contrast. Colours that are close together results in a lower contrast, making content harder to read. The threshold for (easily) readable text depends on a person’s eye sight, colour perception, etc. External factors, like bright sunlight, also influence readability. WCAG calculates this contrast as a ratio and defines minima for websites to meet. Readable content is a basic requirement for accessible websites, but also the most failed test according to our research.


Test completion rate

40 / 60

Fail / pass ratio


Pages failed this test

Link nameMissing discernible text for links

This rule checks that each link has an accessible name that can be read by assistive technology like screen readers. For example, when a link only contains an icon and has no name that can be programmatically determined, it lacks discernible text. It’s important for links to have an accessible name and clearly state their purpose.


Test completion rate

40 / 60

Fail / pass ratio


Pages failed this test

Image altMissing alternative text for images

This rule checks that images either have an accessible name or are marked up as decorative. People who cannot see an image can have the text alternative read aloud using synthesized speech. Alt-texts are crucial for people with visual impairments.


Test completion rate

25 / 75

Fail / pass ratio


Pages failed this test

Button nameMissing discernible text for buttons

This rule is identical to ‘missing discernible text for links’ but applied to buttons.


Test completion rate

20 / 80

Fail / pass ratio


Pages failed this test

Page languageMissing document language

This rule checks that an HTML page has a lang attribute. It defines the language of the page and helps people using assistive technology like screen readers to get information read out in the correct language.


Test completion rate

10 / 90

Fail / pass ratio


Pages failed this test

Distinguishable linksIndistinguishable links in text blocks

This rule looks at common ways to distinguish links from surrounding text, such as underlining. If the link only differs in colour from the surrounding text, it must have a contrast difference of at least 3:1. This ensures low vision users and users with a colour vision deficiency can easily distinguish links in blocks of text.


Test completion rate

20 / 80

Fail / pass ratio


Pages failed this test

Need help setting up a digital accessibility program?

5. Methodology About the research

The Digital Trust Index 2024 is an annual research initiative conducted by the digital advisory firm Craftzing to measure the trustworthiness of digital platforms. Each quarter, the index focuses on one trust aspect. This edition focuses on accessibility.

From our experience optimising digital services and testing them with users, we are daily confronted with barriers that people encounter because digital services are not well designed and do not meet accessibility requirements.

How we tested

To get an overview of Europe's accessibility problem, we needed to test hundreds of thousands of websites. This cannot be done manually, so we looked for an automated solution. We were inspired by the WebAIM Million project [3].

The list of domain names comes from the Tranco list [4], a research-oriented ranking for top sites. We extracted country codes and categorised the results per European country. With testing and scraping tools we have built a research application that can test thousands of homepages of EU websites with Deque's axe API [5]. Axe’s rules are mapped on the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) version 2.1, level A and AA, from which the European standard EN 301 549 draws heavily.

Why are some EU countries not in the list? Because we had fewer than 4,000 websites from these countries in our sample to test, which would result in significant differences compared to other countries, making it difficult to compare the results across EU countries.

The following table lists the eighteen countries we tested in the first column, and shows the TLDs we’ve included for them in the second column. The third and final column shows the number of domains we’ve accepted and included in the results, 260,079 in total.

Number of domains per country after filtering
Member state Top Level Domains (TLDs) Domains
Germany .de, .bayern, .berlin, .hamburg, .nrw, .koeln, .cologne, .ruhr, .saarland 60,565
Netherlands .nl, .amsterdam, .frl 30,392
Poland .pl 22,935
France .fr, .paris, .gp, .gf, .mq, .yt, .re, .mf 22,870
Italy .it 21,721
Spain .es 12,090
Czechia .cz 11,308
Romania .ro 10,749
Denmark .dk 10,088
Sweden .se 8,361
Hungary .hu 7,985
Greece .gr 7,926
Austria .at 7,621
Belgium .be, .brussels, .vlaanderen 7,408
Finland .fi 4,670
Portugal .pt 4,551
Norway .no 4,439
Slovakia .sk 4,400

6. The path forward You shouldn't just consider accessibility; you should start with it.

One in four European adults has some form of disability. For many, participating in the digital society is challenging. Most organizations are unaware of this and are missing out on potential revenue and impact. Imagine the growth that can be achieved by developing digital services for everyone.

Today, accessibility is often an afterthought, something considered at the end of a digital project. That’s not the right approach. It will require significant rework and budget to fix. You shouldn't just consider accessibility; you should start with it.

Organisations that create an environment that stimulates inclusion have higher digital trust and avoid legal risks. Including accessibility at the start of your processes minimises effort and maximises outcome.

Craftzing believes that companies should be fined when their digital services are not accessible. Read the opinion of our CEO Roeland Tegenbos in Belgian newspaper De Tijd. Since no one likes to be fined, this should encourage the right action: building a digital society where everyone can participate.

Embrace the European Accessibility Act as an opportunity to enhance user experience and expand your reach. Let's build a more accessible future.

Need help setting up a digital accessibility program?

7. References Resources


Victor Le Pochat, Tom Van Goethem, Samaneh Tajalizadehkhoob, Maciej Korczyński, and Wouter Joosen. 2019. "Tranco: A Research-Oriented Top Sites Ranking Hardened Against Manipulation," Proceedings of the 26th Annual Network and Distributed System Security Symposium (NDSS 2019).