The Web Accessibility Process

The Web Accessibility Process

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AKEA’s Web Accessibility Consulting Process

nullYou may hear the phrase web accessibility and wonder how an organization can implement and be assured of accessibility on their website and advertise themselves as conforming to accessibility standards and guidelines. More often than not, organizations contract third-party web accessibility consulting firms, like our team at AKEA Web Solutions, to confirm that their website is in compliance with the Americans with Disability Act, Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.1) and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, all of which require websites to be accessible to individuals with disabilities.

When barriers are present within your website, limiting individuals from accessing all of its content, your organization is at risk of facing a civil rights violation. In addition, you are preventing a large population from having equal access to important content. In order to alleviate that risk and ensure equality, partnering with an experienced web accessibility consulting firm and establishing a thorough communication plan is the key to success.

Step 1: The Audit Process

At AKEA Web Solutions, we assist you from start to finish throughout the accessibility process, beginning with the initial contact through review, remediation and final sign-off. Following our initial contact, we will complete a website accessibility audit. A web accessibility audit identifies if barriers are present that prevent individuals with disabilities from accessing your website content and to what extent. Web accessibility audits provide in-depth, page-by-page analysis that outlines the areas that were identified as in need of remediation services. An audit also prioritizes which elements are the most concerning and outlines best practices to follow in order to maintain web accessibility compliance. An audit is a beneficial process that provides large amounts of information quickly and efficiently.

Automated and Manual Accessibility Audits

There are two forms of audits that we will be perform: a software (automated) audit and a manual audit. Software audits are often the first step to identifying overall problem or barriers. Software audits use scanning software and scripts on websites to identify problem areas that are not in compliance with web accessibility standards. By using a series of scripts, the presence or lack of certain code conditions can be identified. Software audits are a beneficial tool due to their ability to provide a quick overview; however, despite these benefits, false positives can still occur. Machines are great tools but unfortunately, they can’t do everything and, thus, a human is needed for a robust and comprehensive testing process.

The Importance of Manual Testing

Following a software audit, our team will perform a manual audit. A manual audit provides a human element that machines cannot, identifying issues a software audit may have overlooked. A manual audit provides page-by-page reviews completed with documentation by hand and keyboard-only commands. Keyboard-only commands are a beneficial tool used by individuals with disabilities to move between sections of a web page and access links, menus and other important content elements. By performing a manual assessment using keyboard-only commands, we can identify specific barriers that might otherwise prohibit a positive user experience.

User-Testing and Review

To further identify possible issues, at AKEA Web Solutions, we provide user-testing with teams of individuals with various visual, hearing, cognitive and mobility impairments to provide better insight into problems that a tester without a disability may not fully comprehend. Thanks to the insight of this team of trained professionals, we have a better overall perspective from representatives of the same individuals we are striving to assist.

Step 1: The Audit Process

At AKEA Web Solutions, we assist you from start to finish throughout the accessibility process, beginning with the initial contact through review, remediation and final sign-off. Following our initial contact, we will complete a website accessibility audit. A web accessibility audit identifies if barriers are present that prevent individuals with disabilities from accessing your website content and to what extent. Web accessibility audits provide in-depth, page-by-page analysis that outlines the areas that were identified as in need of remediation services. An audit also prioritizes which elements are the most concerning and outlines best practices to follow in order to maintain web accessibility compliance. An audit is a beneficial process that provides large amounts of information quickly and efficiently.

nullAutomated and Manual Accessibility Audits Explained

There are two forms of audits that we will be perform: a software (automated) audit and a manual audit. Software audits are often the first step to identifying overall problem or barriers. Software audits use scanning software and scripts on websites to identify problem areas that are not in compliance with web accessibility standards.

By using a series of scripts, the presence or lack of certain code conditions can be identified. Software audits are a beneficial tool due to their ability to provide a quick overview; however, despite these benefits, false positives can still occur.

Machines are great tools but unfortunately, they can’t do everything and, thus, a human is needed for a robust and comprehensive testing process.

nullManual Testing is Important for These Reasons

Following a software audit, our team will perform a manual audit.

A manual audit provides a human element that machines cannot, identifying issues a software audit may have overlooked.

A manual audit provides page-by-page reviews completed with documentation by hand and keyboard-only commands. Keyboard-only commands are a beneficial tool used by individuals with disabilities to move between sections of a web page and access links, menus and other important content elements.

By performing a manual assessment using keyboard-only commands, we can identify specific barriers that might otherwise prohibit a positive user experience.

User-Testing and Review

To further identify possible issues, at AKEA Web Solutions, we provide user-testing with teams of individuals with various visual, hearing, cognitive and mobility impairments to provide better insight into problems that a tester without a disability may not fully comprehend. Thanks to the insight of this team of trained professionals, we have a better overall perspective from representatives of the same individuals we are striving to assist.

Step 2: The Remediation Process

Review Audit Results and Develop the Corrective Action Plan

nullFollowing the web accessibility audit process, your organization will collaborate with AKEA Web Solutions through our technical teams, with either internal or contracted technical teams. A comprehensive analysis of audit findings will be provided, along with a detailed report outlining all areas where web accessibility issues were identified. Through the development of a Corrective Action Plan, high-impact issues will be noted and prioritized for remediation according to what changes can have the biggest impact most rapidly.

Implementation of the Corrective Action Plan

Following this process, AKEA Web Solutions will sit down with you to further discuss our findings, providing an in-depth review and allowing you an opportunity to discuss any questions you may have. When you work with our team, you can be confident that no question will be left unanswered. All proposed solutions must be approved before moving forward and once all issues are reviewed and suggested repairs are agreed upon, AKEA Web Solutions will work with you to develop a detailed plan to address these identified web accessibility issues going forward. Rather than just communication the problems are, we will provide guidance on how to fix these issues, as well as an estimation of resources that are required to address these needs.

Remediation, Review and QA

AKEA Web Solutions makes education and informing on accessibility concepts a priority throughout the accessibility process. As repairs are completed, they will be implemented in production, otherwise known as a live environment. By introducing them to a live environment, we can monitor usage and determine that no issues have arisen. Once all repairs have been completed, we will complete a final review to verify your website is in compliance with universally accepted website guidelines, such as WCAG 2.1, as well as government-issued guidelines, such as Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Once the final review is complete and the website is deemed compliant, AKEA Web Solutions will issue a document regarding the website’s accessibility, otherwise known as a Letter of Compliance, which summarizes the types of features and level of compliance that was achieved in order to conform to accessibility standards and guidelines. A WCAG 2.1 Conformance Claim will also be provided within the letter, which indicates that your website meets WCAG 2.1 success criteria. By publishing this conformance claim, you can let your current and prospective clients know that you have taken proactive measures to provide for equal online experience for individuals with disabilities.

Step 3: Web Accessibility Assurance, Education and Continued Reviews

The Importance of Regular Reviews

nullOngoing monitoring is crucial, due to the rapid increase of telecommunication use, and the periodic ongoing updating of standards and guidelines. Our website accessibility (WCAG) assurance plan provides you reviews of your website once or twice annually (or more frequently, if desired) to confirm that your newly added and modified content continues to be in compliance with required standards.

AKEA Web Solutions will also assist with the development of initial and ongoing company policies to increase awareness within your business, as well as plan various training options and follow-up training for all levels of staff within your organization. Promoting organizational awareness is key to continued success and the incorporation of web accessibility guidelines into your current policies can help increase awareness, as well as reinforce ongoing compliance and success.

From Start to Finish, AKEA Provides a Complete Solution

Web accessibility is an important requirement of owning and maintaining a website; when your organization can be put at risk by instances of noncompliance, you want to have the comfort of knowing you have the right team supporting you. In some cases of web accessibility noncompliance, a civil rights violation can occur, which can lead to a letter of complaint or even a lawsuit. You cannot afford for steps to be skipped along the road to web accessibility compliance.

There is no doubt that the accessibility process is a rigorous one and, at AKEA Web Solutions, we’re here to act as your trusted partner every step of the way. With our organization of trained professionals, with over a decade of web accessibility experience, we are the right team for you. We offer our in-depth perspective and knowledge regarding ADA, WCAG 2.1 and Section 508 standards and can provide a comprehensive education and a worry-free process. Allow us to help you throughout the entire web accessibility process. Contact AKEA Web Solutions today to begin your successful path toward web accessibility compliance.

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