There has been an increase in education lately, surrounding website accessibility and the significance it holds for any business or institution with an online presence. If you are one of the many people learning about the importance of web accessibility, you may have additional questions about how best to determine the current compliance rates of your website, and how to maintain compliance in the future. Thanks to web accessibility remediation solutions, the answers to your questions can be easily obtained, and you’ll soon be on your way to a fully accessible website.
Accessibility Remediation is defined as the process of eliminating barriers for people with disabilities. Once your website has met all standards and requirements under the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG), your website will be deemed successfully remediated.
In previous years, there were minimal standards under WCAG 1.0; however, those standards have evolved. Currently, WCAG 2.0 provides more relevant standards that all organizations should strive to meet. Within those standards are four principles that are organized under 12 guidelines. Those principles include: perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. WCAG 2.0 standards also provide various accessibility remediation solutions and WCAG validators. WCAG is primarily intended for web content developers, web accessibility evaluation tool developers, web authoring tool developers, and others who want or need a standard for web accessibility, including for mobile accessibility.
Poorly designed websites often create problematic and unnecessary barriers for people with disabilities, much like how poorly designed buildings can prevent people with disabilities from entering and accessing a business. Access problems are a common occurrence because too often, we assume that websites viewed and accessed by everyone in the same way, but that’s truly not the case. The remediation process is the next step to determining that your website is accessible and, in the event problems arise, that assistance is provided to repair your website and resolve WCAG issues. Don’t wait, act now. It’s never too late to verify that your business meets or exceeds these accessibility standards.
The Importance of Accessibility Remediation
All federal government departments, as well as any organization that is funded or contracted by the government, must follow Section 508 guidelines. In practical terms, the government cannot purchase a covered entity, or information and communication technology, until it is completely accessible. In the event it is inaccessible, appropriate accessibility solutions must be chosen by the organization. Ongoing monitoring is also key to be sure that it doesn’t fall out of compliance again in the future.
Thankfully, WCAG is accepted universally, but that leads to the question: does my website meet WCAG 2.0 criteria? If it doesn’t, that may lead to a dissatisfied customer who can seek out your competitor for a positive experience because they are able to provide them with an accessible website, or even legal action. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 56.7 million people had a disability in 2010. Many of these people are online every day. At the end of 2018, 3.9 billion people, or 51.2 percent of the global population, will be using the internet, according to the International Telecommunication Union.
Before Remediation, Use WCAG Validators
A WCAG validator is a beneficial tool because it can inform you if your website meets the required standards. The good news is that you don’t have to be a technical expert to utilize this tool. It is an automated web accessibility checker, and all that is required is inputting the URL of the website you want to have checked. If the results show inaccessibility, you can utilize WCAG 2.0 accessibility remediation solutions to implement changes.
However, despite the quick results of these automated test, they may produce “false positives” in reporting, and only 20-30% of errors can be found with this form of testing. A human-led assessment by an accessibility expert is the only way to truly determine which issues need remediation. While an automated test is a great first step, manual and functional testing is a crucial component in determining complete accessibility and compliance.
Section 508 Testing Tools
In some ways, a WCAG validator could be considered a tester for Section 508; however, multiple levels make up WCAG 2.0 such as A, AA, and AAA. If an organization follows only the lowest level of WCAG standards, which is an A, it will not be considered fully compliant with Section 508, per the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) Office of Information, Integrity, and Access. It is important to select an automated checker with at least an AA level, to be confident of full compliance.
Very often, these automated checkers do not take mobile device performance into account. Even though a website may be approved by a WCAG validator, the website when viewed on a mobile phone may be inaccessible to an individual with a disability. A photo may be too small to click on, or color contrast may be inadequate for proper visibility.
While a variety of automated tools are available, none of them are as reliable as human testing completed by an accessibility expert.
What’s the Best Choice for Web Accessibility Remediation?
If you’ve utilized WCAG validators or automated accessibility testers, you’ll now have a report of suggested repairs for your website. However, these services will not repair your website for you. Implementing the necessary solutions may be a difficult task if you don’t have web-building expertise or up-to-date knowledge about accessibility barriers.
It’s also important to remember that even if you are a computer tech wiz, there could still be accessibility problems on your website that were missed during the automated testing. Human accessibility experts will be able to catch issues that slipped through the cracks of software testing, providing accurate and reliable web accessibility remediation and reports.
Through the remediation planning process, our experts develop a roadmap to streamline the work process for effective and efficient ways to confirm current and future compliance. Accessibility experts will inspect every component to your website, using a variety of assistive technology and input devices. Not only will they focus on the accessibility of the desktop version of your website, but they’ll also thoroughly inspect the mobile environment as well.
Following your accessibility expert’s in-depth, page-by-page evaluation, they will recommend WCAG 2.0 accessibility remediation solutions that are proven to accurately determine that website is compliant and accessible to everyone, especially those with disabilities. High-impact issues will also be identified, and a customized plan will be developed to address those issues with maximum efficiency. Our experts will fully explain what issues need to be addressed, by whom, in what order, and why, to prevent confusion and be sure that problem areas are addressed adequately. In some cases, we may find that there are numerous similar issues on various pages. In each instance, we will address the problems on a customized basis, instead of implementing a “one-size-fits-all” solution that may not suit your needs.
Our experts will also assist in the development of a policy to implement ongoing monitoring. Monitoring on a monthly or quarterly basis helps confirm that no new issues have been introduced. Educations is also a key component, so by training your development and content team on accessibility, future issues can be prevented.
It’s also important to note that not only will your business benefit through increased support and revenue, but by making your website fully accessible, you’ll be avoiding timely and costly lawsuits. With a focus on ADA and Section 508 legal requirements, we will identify areas of concern and develop a well-rounded plan to reduce areas of significant legal exposure risk and maintain future compliance, to limit your chances of additional lawsuits in the future.
At the end of this process, your website will meet WCAG standards, and be Section 508 compliant; a result that would be hard to come by with only a WCAG validator. By making your website ADA-compliant, your business will see more happy customers, increased positive reviews, and eventually more business! Most importantly, you’ll know that your business is providing an equal opportunity for all.