Removing the Barriers
Focus on making your business accessible to all people, in all ways.
Accessibility requirements are moving away from the idea of helping people with disabilities find a solution to fit their specific need, and focusing more on removing barriers. If you can determine what things within your business/website may be causing a barrier, finding ways to remove them will help everyone gain more access to what you have to offer.
A new set of Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 has been released and are recommended to make websites more accessible on desktops, laptops, tablets, and mobile devices. The revised guidelines have an additional focus on mobile accessibility, people with low vision, and people with cognitive and learning disabilities. Following these guidelines will not make websites accessible to the needs of every user with these disabilities, but it will help to remove some of the barriers that have caused issues in the past and will make the web content more accessible to users in general.
W3C defines the guideline updates as follows:
- Provide text alternatives for non-text content.
- Provide captions and other alternatives for multimedia.
- Create content that can be presented in different ways, including by assistive technologies, without losing meaning.
- Make it easier for users to see and hear content.
- Make all functionality available from a keyboard.
- Give users enough time to read and use content.
- Do not use content that causes seizures or physical reactions.
- Help users navigate and find content.
- Make it easier to use inputs other than keyboard.
- Make text readable and understandable.
- Make content appear and operate in predictable ways.
- Help users avoid and correct mistakes.
- Maximize compatibility with current and future user tools.
Your website NEEDS to be mobile friendly
A little more than half of people who are using the Internet today are searching from their phones rather than any other device. This number is only predicted to increase to three quarters by 2025! It is very important that your website offers the same functions from a smartphone or tablet as it does from a desktop computer.
The thing is ‘mobile sets Learning Free’ and we can now learn virtually anything, anywhere and anytime – and that’s amazing.
– RJ Jacquez
The number of law suits are increasing each year when it comes to web accessibility issues so it is important to be prepared and to follow the guidelines. Think about what could be a barrier for your users and try to plan a way to remove it or replace it with something more accessible to more people. You want as many users as possible to have equal access to your information.
- Provide an Accessibility Statement on your website explaining how a user can get assistance if they hit a barrier when using your website
- Delegate a specific person or department to be in charge of continually updating the staff on new requirements and what steps need to be taken if an issue arises
- Have your website checked regularly for issues that do not pass the WCAG 2.1 guidelines and have a plan on how to have them corrected
Don’t let website accessibility stress you out. It is a very good thing for you, your business and for all users. The digital world is becoming more accessible all the time on more and more devices, which means that it is getting easier for people to find you and your services. Your job is to continually work on reducing the number of barriers you have in their way and making sure you are prepared to handle any issues that users may have.
Talk to your Account Director today to learn more about what an accessibility audit consists of and to schedule one for your website.
Learn more about Accessibility
- What is accessibility and why does it matter?
- Understanding website accessibility regulations
- Accessibility is NOT just for people with disabilities
LATEST ACCESSIBILITY UPDATE (January 2020): Due to the proposed updates to ADA regulations being officially withdrawn by the DOJ, there is no set date to enforcing that the WCAG 2.1 Guidelines be turned into a testable set of requirements. However, if your business provides a “place of public accommodation”, it will be required to be made accessible to all people sooner or later. It is best to start the process now, before there are legal requirements and deadlines. Learn more about US accessibility policies.