By: Rafi Glantz @ accessiBe
Today we're talking about making your website accessible! We'll be looking at what it means for a site to be accessible, who needs an accessible site, and how to implement changes. Let's go!
What Is An Accessible Website?
An accessible website is a website that has been adjusted and designed to make content more accessible for users with a wide range of disabilities, such as blindness, motor impairments, cognitive disabilities, epilepsy, and more.
To make a website accessible to a wide array of disabilities, it needs to be remediated according to the WCAG, or world content accessibility guidelines. The WCAG are the most widely accepted and used standards for accessible websites.
Who Needs An Accessible Website?
Unless you’ve already remediated it, your website is most likely inaccessible and non-compliant. This is because the foundations of the Internet were not built with accessibility in mind. That being said, all websites should be accessible to people with disabilities.
Many businesses fail to realize that their website is an extension of their brick and mortar shops and should still be just as accessible.
Businesses that only function on the web have even more of a reason for an accessible website because their customers don’t have the choice of going to a store.
In any case, all businesses should remove any obstacles to increased sales, new revenue streams, and enhanced brand reputation.
What Are The Laws Here?
The laws in question here are Section 508 and Title 3 of the ADA. Section 508 requires government agencies to comply with the WCAG, or Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.
Those are basically a 1000-page guidebook explaining what accessible websites look and operate like, and they’re the only internationally recognized set of guidelines for accessibility.
The ADA, on the other hand, doesn’t say anything in the law itself about web accessibility, because it was written before that was an actual possibility, let alone concern.
That didn’t stop people from filing thousands of lawsuits against businesses with inaccessible websites, and so the DOJ ruled in 2018 that business websites are considered places of public accommodations and therefore must be made accessible to people with disabilities.
They still didn’t stipulate the WCAG as the standard to abide by, but every court ruling has done so.
How To Actually Make Your Site Accessible
To make a website accessible, you have two options: automation or manual remediation.
Manual remediation is the practice of hiring an organization or individual skilled developer to work on your website’s source code until it’s compliant.
This poses a few challenges, such as the cost of dozens or hundreds of skilled developer hours, extensive required ongoing maintenance, granting this developer full access to your source code, and of course the time it takes (up to 6 months).
Manual remediation CAN achieve compliance, but for many small businesses, it can be a pyrrhic victory because their annual compliance costs are so great.
An Automated Solution
There are also automated options, but these can be tricky. Many providers of plugins will say that they use AI and can make your website accessible.
The truth is that most plugins provide only 5-10% of the accessibility that people need.
As far as we know, accessiBe is the only fully automated solution that can provide full web accessibility without extensive manual work.
With accessiBe, you just install a single line of JS code, and an icon will appear on your website. The icon opens into a complete interface where users can make adjustments for a vast array of disabilities and preferences.
By allowing each user to customize their session and tailor it to their needs, this tool provides the best user experience to any website visitor.
Hot Mess Consulting has partnered with accessiBe to build the best websites possible.
To find out more about accessiBe setup and management contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org