What is Web Accessibility, and Why Does It Matter?
If you follow the news, there are regular announcements of companies (Amazon, Netflix, Nike, and even Beyonce) being sued because their websites do not meet the required accessibility standards. Of course, these lawsuits are not limited to just big companies. There were over 4,000 ADA web lawsuits filed in 2021. Furthermore, you can be sued multiple times for the same infraction – you can be sued for non-compliance with your website and then sued separately for your related app. While these are strong motivators to ensure your properties are accessibility compliant, they are not the only reason.
It is estimated that 1 in 5 visitors to your site has a disability that prevents them from fully experiencing your content. The whole point of your website is to promote brand awareness. If you ignore accessibility concerns, you are, in essence, missing 20% of your potential audience.
Web Accessibility is Good Business
Whether an individual is blind, partially sighted, deaf, or hard of hearing, their ability to access websites might be limited — but this is only the tip of the iceberg in understanding the full spectrum of accessibility challenges they may face. Many design elements make it hard for visitors to experience our sites fully. For example, we had a site with a white background and yellow fonts for headers and links. While our designer liked the “look,” the contrast between the yellow text on a white background made it difficult to read.
When considering web accessibility, we look at color contrasts, as mentioned above. We also look at font size, close captioning for videos, labeling and describing images for readers (alt texts), reader options for the deaf, underlined text or color contrasts to designate links, and so much more.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
The key is to design with web accessibility in mind. Which again is good business. DEI is a workplace standard to ensure all applicants get a fair chance to be hired, paid a competing wage, and represented in the workplace. Beyond legal requirements, these practices are good for our businesses. A diverse workforce allows us to appreciate the diverse communities we sell to, understand their unique needs, and align our product offerings to a larger audience.
AI supports Web-based ADA and WCAG Compliance.
Fortunately, many AI accessibility tools are available to assist with ADA and WCAG Compliance. They typically are a script that runs on your site to offer options to visitors to enhance their customer journey. They do not interfere with the functionality of your site and do not require additional code changes to your site. In other words, you do not have to rebuild your site; you layer these tools on top of the site to offer options to visitors.
These tools greatly assist in moving you toward compliance, but ultimately the best solution for your site is a manual accessibility audit to address areas of improvement. For example, these tools may generically fill in alt tags to meet basic requirements, which is better than nothing. However, ideally, you would properly use alt tags to identify the nature of the image so readers can convey the context to the visitor.
Start your Journey to Web Accessibility Today
To begin your compliance journey, there are many free accessibility testing tools online to help you understand the current state of your web properties. However, if you need help or want a greater understanding of improving your customer experience for all, in that case, we offer a free consultation to help you explore options to build a more inclusive web presence.
Email us with web accessibility in the subject line, and we will schedule a Zoom call to discuss your needs.
We ensure compliance with WCAG 2.1, ADA, Section 508, AODA, EN 301549, and IS 5568 standards.