Is Your Website Accessible to Everyone?
This is a question that is gaining more and more prominence everyday, and rightly so.
When we say, “everyone” we’re not talking about geographically. Of course your website is accessible everywhere that has an internet connection. No, what we’re talking about is making your website accessible to people of all abilities.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law in 1990. The ADA is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public.
And those areas include the internet.
Sadly, some data shows that approximately 90% of websites are inaccessible to people with disabilities who rely on assistive technology. With nearly 15% of the worlds population living with some sort of disability, this is a huge problem!
When many people think about web accessibility, they immediately think of the blind, but did you know that many people suffer from other types of visual impairment? Things like color blindness, blurred vision, and light sensitivity are just a few examples of other things we need consider when designing a website.
What about motor or dexterity impairment such as paralysis, cerebral palsy, dyspraxia, and carpal tunnel syndrome?
These types of impairments can impact a user’s ability to navigate online using standard devices such a mouse or keyboard, and offering alternative ways to navigate your website is crucial.
And of course, if you host audio/visual media on your website, you need to consider those with hearing impairments such as partial or full deafness. For these folks, closed captions are imperative.
As you can see, there is so much more to building an ADA conformant website than adding alt tags to images for people using screen readers. Users of all abilities need to be able to navigate your website and access all of your content, including text, videos, PDF files, and so on.
At B&B Media, we specialize in building ADA conformant websites and retroactively remediated non-conformant websites. However, due to time and cost, ADA conformance is not included in our base packages, but can be added to any project for additional fees.
How ADA Conformance Works
If you sign on to build an ADA conformant website with B&B Media, we’ll start by choosing a WordPress theme and color scheme that starts us off on the right foot. We do this by running each theme by our ADA conformant testing partners for approval.
Then, I’ll use ADA conformant testing tools to audit the pages as I build them, ensuring that all content is ADA conformant out of the gate.
It’s worth noting that automated testing tools only work on about ~30% of ADA rules. The rest have to be manually tested by people trained in all WCAG 2.1 standards.
Once the new site is complete and approved by you, we’ll send it to our partners for an in-depth, site-wide audit. They’ll test each and every page against every ADA rule according to all WCAG 2.1 conformance standards.
For Those with Existing Websites…
If you’re partnering with B&B Media to remediate an existing website, we’ll start with the comprehensive audit. This is the same audit we would do after gaining your final approval on a new website build.
The main difference is that you’ll have to pay for the audit prior to receiving a quote on remediation.
Comprehensive ADA Audit
The audit conducted by our partners is done by a team of ADA experts who have been trained in all WCAG 2.1 conformance standards. Once complete, they will send us an extensive list of issues that must be remediated.
For new website builds, this will be included in your ADA conformance package, but for existing sites, the audit must be paid for in advance.
When you take your car to the mechanic because something is wrong, the quote is free. You have to know what’s wrong and how much it will cost to fix it before you move forward. Makes sense.
Unfortunately, with ADA conformance, this isn’t the case.
Because these audits are mostly done manually, they take a lot of time. Sites with 100 pages will take much longer than those with 5 pages, so the audit is the first cost incurred with an ADA conformant project.
Once we have the audit report, we can quote how long it will take to remediate the issues. Again, for new website builds, this will be included in your package because I’ll be working towards ADA conformance during the build out.
Remediation and Final Conformance
Using the report provided by our partners, I’ll begin fixing each issue, one at a time. This process will vary from website to website, and will differ between WordPress themes and number of pages.
Once I’ve completed the remediation process I’ll send it back to our partners for a final audit. This ensures nothing is missed prior to launch.
Once we finalize the ADA conformance on your website, it’s important to note that any change you might make via the content management system could result in a non-conformance. Once we pass the baton to you, we can’t guarantee 100% conformance.
Any non-conformant PDF you might upload, image you might place without an alt tag, video you might embed without captions, or blog you might write without proper heading tag order might disrupt the conformance.
Maintaining WCAG 2.1 conformance standards is a tricky process.
For this, we recommend quarterly audits and remediation, though this is not required. Quarterly audits will ensure that your site stays conformant as you build upon your website, add pages, posts, or products, and so on.
Interested in learning more or getting started? Get in touch below and we’ll help you make your website assessable to everyone.