5 Questions to Ask when Prioritizing Digital Accessibility

03/12/2020

By: The National Business & Disability Council at the Viscardi Center

Your digital content could be costing you business, and might even be putting you at legal risk.

Whether it’s by attempting to make a purchase, watch a video, review a document or schedule an appointment, when users can’t access your website and other digital content, they’re likely to go find what they need elsewhere. Moreover, if your website violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or established accessibility standards, your organization could face legal trouble. No matter the reason, it’s important to address digital accessibility issues before they pose problems later on.

Organizations should prioritize how they address digital accessibility by asking the following questions:

1. Is This Putting Us at Risk of a Lawsuit?

While addressing digital accessibility should always be a priority, it’s critical to address access issues on your website or other digital media (videos, documents, etc.) that violate accessibility standards and guidelines. Note, lawsuits don’t have to be filed solely by users with disabilities. In fact, it only takes one person being unable to use a function of your site to provoke a lawsuit. Don’t put your entire business at risk by ignoring key accessibility requirements.

2. Is Our Core Content Accessible?

What are the primary reasons visitors access your website or digital content? Is it to manage an account or pay a bill? Is it to watch a video or purchase a product? Consider the core reasons a person uses your websites or apps and ensure these are the first aspects of accessibility you address. These reasons will vary based on your business functions. For example, a user’s primary reason for visiting a bank website may be to conduct a transaction, so ensuring this process is accessible is imperative. However, a user’s primary reason for visiting a manufacturer’s website might be to download instructions or watch a video tutorial. This means focus should be aimed at making sure those key elements are accessible. Be sure to put the key reasons people access your digital content at the top of your priority list.

3. Are Navigation Paths Clear and Functional? 

Beyond your homepage, consider your most viewed content areas and how users navigate to them. Are the common entry points to main pages, user flows and downloadable information evident? Is the path to complete transactions (i.e. order products) clear? Ensure paths move in a logical manner for screen readers and other assistive technology.

4. Are We Planning Content Updates Already?

There are often reasons to make changes to your website and digital media, and many have nothing to do with accessibility. Perhaps you’re offering a new service, or your office location has changed. Maybe you’re retiring a product, or a previous news item is out-of-date. If there is already a need to update or revise areas of your website, go ahead and make necessary accessibility changes.

5. Are Our Applications, Forms and Contact Info Accessible? 

If users can’t access your surveys, “contact us” pages, applications and other forms, you’re likely missing out on crucial business. Often forms and surveys are managed by third-party platforms, so it’s important to ensure that any programs or forms you integrate on your website are accessible.

Need more guidance on ensuring your website and other digital content is accessible? We’re here to help.

What areas of digital accessibility will your organization prioritize first?

About the National Business & Disability Council at the Viscardi Center:

The National Business & Disability Council (NBDC) at The Viscardi Center is an employer organization that assists companies in increasing their capacity to hire, retain and advance employees with disabilities. Learn more at NBDC.com

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Written by Raegan Bartlo