Making your Website Accessible for All
January 1, 2019
If you own a business that has a website (which every business should have) you want your website to be accessible to a range of people including individuals who have visual, motor, auditory, speech, or cognitive disabilities. Not only is this good business, but there are rules and laws starting to form, which could target businesses whose websites are not ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant.
The set of guidelines a website needs to use in order to be accessible for all users is called Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0). These guidelines have become the standard many countries and organizations go by.
There are four principles of the WCAG standard:
Perceivable - Information and user interface components must be presentable to users in ways they can perceive. This means that information being presented on a website cannot be invisible to all of a person’s senses.
Operable – Users must be able to operate the interface, meaning the interface cannot require interaction that a user cannot perform.
Understandable - Users must be able to understand the information as well as the operation of the user interface.
Robust - Content must be robust enough that it can be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies. This means that users must be able to access the content as technologies advance as well.
WCAG guidelines have three levels ranging from A, the lowest level, AA which is the sufficient level, and AAA, the highest level. Most businesses currently focus on the AA level.
To view the WCAG 2.0 guidelines in their entirety visit https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG20/
We will focus on a few of the guidelines in the AA level that businesses can implement now to make sure their websites are accessible to all.
- Use captions for all live audio content
- Provide audio descriptions for all prerecorded video content
- Text contrast and images of text must have a contrast ratio of 4.5:1
- Must provide users with the ability to resize text up to 200% without using assistive technology, loss of content and functionality
- Use text to convey information instead of images whenever possible
- Provide multiple ways to navigate and locate web pages
- Use headings and labels to describe topics and purpose of web components
- Make sure the keyboard focus indicator is visible through all interfaces
- Make sure the language of each paragraph in the website content is determinable through users’ browsing software
- Navigational mechanisms that are repeated through multiple web pages occur in the same order each time they are repeated
- Components with the same functionality must be identifies consistently
- In the case of input errors, provide the user with correctional suggestions when known
- Ensure security of legal and financial data transactions by making sure they are reversible, that the user is able to recheck inputted data, and a confirmation mechanism is provided before finalizing a submission.
It is important for every business to have an accessible website. However, it is crucial for businesses that are private companies with a minimum of 15 people on their payroll, local state public sectors, or public facilities and nonprofit to take special care to make sure compliance is met
Why is this important legally? While there are no laws in place for website ADA compliance YET, the US Department of Justice encourages self-regulation of websites. Currently, individuals with disabilities have been filing lawsuits. It is important to go over ADA compliance to avoid lengthy and expensive legal battles with these individuals.
Here at DATACOM and Out There Advertising, we suggest every business to get an accessibility audit to find out if your website is ADA compliant. We are able to help with audits and can recommend changes that need to be made and even make these updates for you. We also suggest your company do recurrent audits.
If you have any questions regarding ADA compliance or WCAG 2.0 please reach out to us.