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Website Accessibility: Making A More Accessible Web

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Website accessibility isn’t anything new, nor is following ADA compliance when conducting business.

However, having an ADA compliant website is still a “new” idea to many businesses online, but that is expected to change over the next few years. In fact, we’re suggesting that part of your 2021 web strategy should include updating your website to meet WCAG guidelines.

Table Of Contents

Meeting Web Content Accessibility Guidelines on the Modern Web

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, or WCAG for short, is exactly what the name implies. These accessibility guidelines help marketers, content writers, designers, and developers create websites that are accessible to the largest number of potential visitors.

We recommend reaching a minimum of WCAG 2 website accessibility, regardless of your industry. 

What does it mean to be a WCAG 2 accessible website?

Reaching WCAG 2 accessibility means your designer, developer, and content writers have taken care when creating each part of your website.

We’ll get into this more later, but in short, it means that the selected colors meet certain color-blindness and contrast ratios rules, the site can be navigated through voice or keyboard commands, and that the content is written at a level that a majority of Internet users can comprehend.

ADA, Americans with Disabilities Act

Making Sense of ADA Website Compliance and Your Business

Most business owners are aware of ADA laws which require businesses to take certain actions to ensure their business is accessible to those with disabilities. This originally meant installing elevators, wheelchair ramps, and other physical adjustments to business storefronts.

In today’s ever-increasing digital World, ADA accessibility compliance extends to your website. Yes, your business website should aim to be ADA compliant.

Do All Businesses Need to Meet ADA Website Compliance?

Not all websites are required by law to follow ADA compliance when creating their websites or apps.

Accessibility laws will vary by region (mainly State and Country), so it is always best to consult local law counsel for this. Even if you aren’t required to do it, you probably should still consider web accessibility as part of your overall online business strategy.

If I’m Not Required to be ADA Compliant, Why Should I Make My Website Accessible?

According to the CDC, 1 in 4 adult Americans report having some type of disability.

If you aren’t required to meet ADA accessibility by law, it’s still a good idea to do it anyway. You don’t want to exclude anyone, just because they have a disability. Properly implemented website accessibility can only lead to better experiences using your website and more sales or leads.

Great website accessibility improves your website’s usability and user experience as a whole. 

Website visitors who can easily navigate through and understand a website are more likely to make a purchase, submit a form, or become a lead.

Website Accessibility and Lawsuits

Under certain circumstances, you could face legal disputes for not addressing website accessibility.

In 2018, there were over 2000 website accessibility lawsuits filed, more than double the number from 2017. In 2019 and 2020, that number continues to grow.

“The global market of people with disabilities is over 1 billion, with a spending power of more than $6 trillion”

Think with Google

Who Needs to Understand Web Accessibility?

Anyone who has a hand in your digital presence should have at a minimum, a basic understanding of what it means to be ADA accessible, to WCAG compliant. 

Accessibility reaches across all elements of your website. It’s important for your designers, developers, and content writers to understand web accessibility and how it may impact their job.

How to Find Out If Your Website is Accessible

There are many online website accessibility test tools you can use to test your website content and design. See below for two of our favorite website accessibility checkers.

Don’t feel bad if your website does poorly on the accessibility test. You wouldn’t be alone. Many of the Internet’s top ranking websites aren’t accessible.

Testing Your Website Accessibility

If you have a website, take a few minutes to do the following. This will give you an idea of how accessible your website may be. If you aren’t sure how to do it, or you want a second opinion, let’s talk about how we can help you with your website.

  • Is the website easy to navigate?
  • Can you do it with just a keyboard?
  • Can you easily search through the page content?
  • Is it clear what page you’re on as you browse the site?
  • Do contact form fields have labels?
  • Have you included meaningful confirmation or validation messages on forms?
  • Is there enough contrast between text colors and background colors or images?  
  • Is the font a legible size and typeface?
  • Are page elements consistent in design across the website?
  • Are there any rapid or repeating, fast-moving animations, or flashing page elements?
  • Have images been given ALT tags? Are written transcripts available for your video content?

Steps to Take After Completing Your Website Accessibility Audit

After testing the accessibility of your website, it’s time to create a strategy to resolve any website accessibility problems you’re having.

When it comes to prioritizing which website accessibility updates to make first, we suggest starting with any easy wins. Some examples of easy web accessibility changes might be:

  • Updating your images to include ALT tags. This improves site accessibility and SEO.
  • Update pages to include proper usage of HTML H-tags. This can improve your website accessibility and SEO.
  • Implement proper keyboard navigation on your website. This will improve your website accessibility. 

After you’ve completed the accessibility updates above, moving on to bigger accessibility updates would be the next step. It’s up to your team to decide what order to tackle these in.

  • Fix website colors if there are any contrast issues. This may require updates to your overall brand, so it’s not always a quick adjustment.
  • Update links on your website to stand out. It is recommended to style your links differently than standard text. Add a slight underline, bottom-border, or unique styling.
  • Rewrite your content as needed. If your website content requires the average visitor a dictionary to get through, you have a problem! Keep sentences short – avoid unnecessary words.

Help Make the Web More Accessible

Reaching total accessibility on the Internet is a pipe dream, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t reach for it!

A more inclusive Internet benefits everyone. 

Whether you do it because it’s the right thing to do, or because it’s better for your business, website accessibility should be considered a worthwhile investment in your website and digital strategy.