Under the provisions of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) act, businesses must provide accommodations to make their services available to people with disabilities. This applies to websites as well, making it important to perform a website accessibility check to ensure your site is in compliance with the law.
Besides benefiting your site by making it easier for individuals with disabilities to navigate and consume content, designing your site to comply with the ADA provides a prudent way to reduce the risk of an accessibility-based lawsuit. Additionally, the standards most commonly used to judge website accessibility, WCAG 2.0 guidelines, are widely considered to be effective for improving overall website usability and design.
This means using WCAG 2.0 can make your site more attractive to all its users, too – not only those with disabilities.
There a variety of disabilities websites must accommodate to qualify as accessible. These include:
Individuals with disabilities can utilize a variety of assistive technologies to assist them in navigating websites and using software apps, all of which should be compatible with the design of your site. Among these are:
When gauging your website’s level of accessibility to those with disabilities, there are a variety of questions you can ask.
Now that we have covered the reasons and methods behind accessibility, the next question to ask is: What type of testing best fits my situation? User1st provides a variety of website accessibility checks, assessments and advisory programs to help determine the best path to accessibility. Among them are the Health Check, Assessment, Audit and Strategic Consulting.
A health check can provide you with a detailed analysis of your site’s overall accessibility status. However, these checks can fall short in some areas, especially when it comes to the actual performance of assistive technology when used on your site. Often, the only way to verify that your site is fully usable by people with disabilities is to conduct manual testing.
This can be done by user testing with and without assistive technology. The key is to perform an actual test of a website’s functionality not only from the perspective of a user with disabilities, but as a human that understands the logic and context behind how information is presented. To make your site as accessible as possible, tests should employ the major assistive technologies described above.
It’s important to understand that an audit functions as a legal document, meaning that there isn’t a need for such an in-depth report unless it has been legally required of your company. Because this audit is legally solicited, the terms of it and the tools used will be specifically legally mandated as well. Rather than cataloging every individual error that appears on a digital asset as occurs in an audit, most organizations will only need an assessment that tests enough random pages and templates to create a demonstrative sample size and description of errors. However, both tests are more in-depth than a health check because they include that crucial manual testing component.
Now that you’re an expert on the varying degrees of testing available, you’re ready to choose which one is the best fit for your organization. If you’re unsure, find the statements that most accurately describe your situation below:
Written by Raegan Bartlo