Is your website accessible to everyone?
WCAG 2.1 AA compliance is easier than you may think.
Website accessibility for your visitors does not have to be complicated. Spearhead Multimedia can accomplish this without making changes to your website’s existing code. The service will strengthen any weak spots that might cause issues. Most well-built sites can be done for much less than you think. On average, one in five of your visitors requires some type of accessibility assistance. Tens of millions of pages are more accessible today thanks to the programs we will be using on your website. Why wait? Do it today. Contact Us.
Web accessibility, or eAccessibility, is the inclusive practice of ensuring there are no barriers that prevent interaction with, or access to, websites on the World Wide Web by people with physical disabilities, situational disabilities, and socio-economic restrictions on bandwidth and speed. When sites are correctly designed, developed and edited, more users have equal access to information and functionality.
For example, when a site is coded with semantically meaningful HTML, with textual equivalents provided for images and with links named meaningfully, this helps blind users using text-to-speech software and/or text-to-Braille hardware. When text and images are large and/or enlargeable, it is easier for users with poor sight to read and understand the content. When links are underlined (or otherwise differentiated) as well as colored, this ensures that color blind users will be able to notice them. When clickable links and areas are large, this helps users who cannot control a mouse with precision. When pages are not coded in a way that hinders navigation by means of the keyboard alone, or a single switch access device alone, this helps users who cannot use a mouse or even a standard keyboard. When videos are closed captioned or a sign language version is available, deaf and hard-of-hearing users can understand the video. When flashing effects are avoided or made optional, users prone to seizures caused by these effects are not put at risk. And when content is written in plain language and illustrated with instructional diagrams and animations, users with dyslexia and learning difficulties are better able to understand the content. When sites are correctly built and maintained, all of these users can be accommodated without decreasing the usability of the site for non-disabled users.
The needs that web accessibility aims to address include:
- Visual: Visual impairments including blindness, various common types of low vision and poor eyesight, various types of color blindness;
- Motor/mobility: e.g. difficulty or inability to use the hands, including tremors, muscle slowness, loss of fine muscle control, etc., due to conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, stroke;
- Auditory: Deafness or hearing impairments, including individuals who are hard of hearing;
- Seizures: Photo epileptic seizures caused by visual strobe or flashing effects.
- Cognitive and intellectual: Developmental disabilities, learning difficulties (dyslexia, dyscalculia, etc.), and cognitive disabilities (PTSD, Alzheimer’s) of various origins, affecting memory, attention, developmental “maturity”, problem-solving and logic skills, etc.
Accessibility is not confined to the list above, rather it extends to anyone who is experiencing any permanent, temporary or situational disability. Situational disability refers to someone who may be experiencing a boundary based on the current experience. For example, a person may be situationally one-handed if they are carrying a baby. Web accessibility should be mindful of users experiencing a wide variety of barriers. Unfortunately, according to a 2018 WebAIM global survey of web accessibility practitioners, close to 93% of survey respondents received no formal schooling on web accessibility.
Website Accessibility – What it takes to accomplish it.
Evaluating your website’s accessibility can seem like a huge task. If images of scrolling through page after page of your site endlessly trying to figure out what might cause visitors issues are popping into your head, then stop and take a breath. Luckily for website owners, we are here to make it easier for sites to be brought up to accessibility standards. There are sites to evaluate potential issues, ones to help you improve your WCAG 2.1 compliance, and us to help guide you along the way. Here is an easy guide to help you along the path to figuring what accessibility issues exist on your site, and why you should have us upgrade it today.
Know The Rules
The rules were created for a reason – they actually really help people. The WCAG 2.1 guidelines are filled with helpful information and ways to increase the accessibility of your website. A lot of people tend to think these guidelines are a barrier to creativity and exciting web design. Mark Root-Wiley captured the answer to this type of thinking best when he wrote, “Accessibility and style aren’t mutually exclusive, but following design trends (or even last-minute ideas) without proper consideration and testing will lead to accessibility disasters … not to mention other potential usability problems.” Accessibility is a big issue for website owners. Web design must be carefully considered and new changes thought through carefully. Otherwise, you risk alienating a large portion of your website visitors who cannot use your website due to poor accessibility.
Learn The Basics
If you’ve checked out the WCAG 2.1 rules, then you now know there are a lot of them. The tiny details that contribute to an accessible website can seem overwhelming at first. That’s why it is a good idea to start with some of the biggest issues first. Once you start learning the problems that your users may face with your site, it will motivate you to make the necessary updates and start checking those tiny details off of your to-do list. Some of the biggest accessibility issues that users face are the following:
- Color Contrast Problems – Creating a website that people can easily read might seem obvious. However, a lot of sites have color contrast issues without even knowing they exist. See why color contrast is so important to learn what updates you might need to make here. It will also point you to some free resources to check and see if your site’s colors are compliant with the WCAG 2.1 guidelines.
- WCAG 2.1 Checkers – You’re not alone in your quest for accessibility! A lot of groups have developed free (and paid) WCAG 2.1 checkers to assess the issues within your site. These sites typically scan your site and give you a report on major issues, smaller problems, and potential considerations. Learn more about which sites can help you assess your website’s current accessibility issues or simply have us do it for you.
It Takes Time
Creating a fully accessible website takes time and consideration. While most recommend building in accessibility features when a website is first created, that doesn’t always happen. However, it is important to go back and integrate these features in order to make your site accessible to everyone. If you own a website, it is your responsibility to ensure that everyone can use it easily and get access to the great content that you put out there. So start considering accessibility in everything you do, both you and your website users will benefit. With most websites, our program integrates without changing the source code.
In the United States, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has determined
- 1 in 5 are disabled
- 8.1 million have some form of visual impairment
- 2 million people are blind
- 7.6 million people have some form of an auditory impairment
- 2.2 million people suffer from seizures or epilepsy (Statistics from the United States Epilepsy Foundation)
- 19.9 million people have some form of motor impairment, have trouble grasping, or can’t use a mouse
Many of these folks are an important part of your business model. If they are able to navigate your website, they’ll be able to become customers, patients, and/or clients.
- 1Assistive technologies used for web browsing
- 2Guidelines on accessible web design
- 2.1Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
- 2.1.1Criticism of WAI guidelines
- 3Essential components of web accessibility
- 4Guidelines for different components
- 4.1Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines (ATAG)
- 4.2Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG)
- 4.3User Agent Accessibility Guidelines (UAAG)
- 5Web accessibility legislation
- 5.4European Union
- 5.14United Kingdom
- 5.15United States
- 6Website accessibility audits
- 7Remediating inaccessible websites
- 8Accessible Web applications and WAI-ARIA
- 9See also
- 11Further reading
- 12External links
- 12.1Standards and guidelines