July 26, 2017
What is Website Accessibility?
Website accessibility, also referred to as ADA compliance or WCAG 2.0, is the modern equivalent of the wheelchair ramp. Businesses are obligated to provide accessibility to all users and there has been a growing effort to regulate public websites in order to ensure ease of use for the impaired and disabled.
Does my website need to be compliant?
Good question. This is best answered by your legal counsel. Similar to a wheelchair ramp, each business has legal obligations specific to their industry and unique situation. The general rule of thumb is as follows: if your business is required to be ADA compliant, then you are also obligated to maintain your website similarly.
There have been a rising number of lawsuits against large, public websites. These have mostly originated from law firms looking to cash in on unsuspecting businesses.
Since website accessibility is still in its infancy, most businesses have not had the chance to update their websites. It doesn’t help that the standards are still being finalized. The US government’s ADA compliance rules have a general stipulation that websites must be made accessible, but what that means exactly is left unspecified. A better guide to follow is a global standard known as WCAG 2.0. This is what most developers will use to determine conformity to the general ADA requirement.
How does it change my website?
For the most part, the changes to your website will not be noticeable to the general user. Most accessibility changes are made to optimize content for screen readers and other assistive hardware. These changes generally affect only the underlying code and metadata. For example, a sight-impaired visitor will be able to read through page content more easily using their unique software. Sometimes the visual design will need to be adjusted in order to meet color contrast requirements. For example, a color blind or visually impaired individual will benefit from colors that are easier to differentiate.
Building a compliant website can be done in two ways. You can update your current website to make the current design accessible, or you can start anew. Sometimes doing a website overhaul/redesign is cost effective, since significant development time might be necessary regardless.
Does my site need an update?
You should determine two things: does your business's website need to be ADA compliant, and how bad is your current website. We can help with the latter. We offer free consultations to answer any website questions you may have. If necessary, we’ll scan and assess your website to determine the accessibility status of your site. Contact us now at 515.331.7400 or firstname.lastname@example.org