In today’s online world, you can’t afford to be overlooking customers with an inaccessible website. With many governments around the globe legislating accessibility guidelines, it’s in your best interest to get (and stay) ahead of the curve and optimize your content now.
What is Accessibility Compliance?
Accessibility compliance is the accessibility industry’s term for considering accessibility when designing or implementing a product, service, application, or website. When it comes to accessibility compliance testing, accessibility professionals evaluate and test products to determine if accessibility features are present. Compliance can also mean conformance with regulations and standards around accessibility.
Who Sets Accessibility Compliance Standards?
The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) outlines accessibility compliance standards for the internet through the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Founded in 1994 by Tim Berners-Lee, the W3C has been paramount in setting standards for browsers and developers to follow. These guidelines allow for a much more versatile and easy-to-use web for everyone. The first draft of the WCAG went public in 1999. Since then, the standards have evolved, with the latest guidelines being WCAG 2.1! As the web continues to grow and accessibility tools get better, the W3C will continue to outline best practices and development patterns to ensure the internet becomes and remains accessible for all.
How Is Accessibility Compliance Measured?
When it comes to websites, the WCAG documents describe four core principles of accessibility. The first principle is ensuring your content is perceivable to all users. That means it can’t be invisible to any of their senses. The second fundamental principle is operability. Operability ensures any user can perform all actions on your website. For instance, offscreen menus coded wrong may not be reachable for some users without proper accessible techniques. The third guiding principle is understandable content. In other words, all your content must be accessible to all users. For example, think about photos on your website. Have your developers added descriptive text so visually impaired users still can understand and access the visual parts of your content? The final core principle is robust. As accessibility technologies advance, your content must remain accessible.
These principles may sound abstract or complex, but by following the guidelines set out by the W3C and implementing any best practices fixes required, you can ensure your website is ready to serve any customer regardless of their accessibility needs.
Why Do I Need to Worry About Accessibility Compliance?
Depending on the location of your organization, the government may have laws requiring your online presence to be accessibility compliant. Accessibility compliance is not a legal requirement everywhere, but it can help your organization from being sued. Furthermore, everyone should have a great experience on your website regardless of their needs or access requirements. The more people can access your content, the more chance you have of converting them into clients!
How Can Creative Branding Help?
Our development team understands the complexities of accessibility. We’ve worked with government agencies that use stringent WCAG 2.1 AA future-facing standards. Through manual audits and industry-leading tools, we identify stand-out accessibility issues and apply best practices to eliminate any future problems. So whether your organization is just getting started online or needs to refurbish a current website, we’re here for you with several online accessibility services.
An accessibility audit involves our developers running a deep scan on your entire website content structure to identify problem areas. Then, we prepare and provide a page-by-page report of issues and suggested fixes. Accessibility audits are a great place to start any content refactoring or migrations. Beyond content issues, the audit will identify any page structure (HTML) or design and color issues. Optionally, Creative Branding offers site reviews and suggestions from real-world users of accessibility tools. These real-world tests can expose accessibility issues that aren’t covered by WCAG, further enhancing your website usability.
Does your organization have a content management team for your website? Do they understand how to apply accessibility best practices to any content they add? Creative Branding is here to provide training for your team. We offer written PDF materials alongside in-person and virtual workshops to teach everyone how to ensure any new content conforms to your accessibility guidelines. This training is critical because an accessibility audit can only assure the content already available on your site is optimized.
Accessibility Compliance Monitoring
Does your organization have a large website that’s constantly growing? Creative Branding offers automated 24/7 compliance monitoring. This option is excellent for companies with large content teams or a site with constantly changing content. Our toolset will monitor your entire domain and report required fixes, which our development team will enact. As a result, you can rest easy with the knowledge we will properly optimize any new or changing pages with best practices for accessibility compliance.
Accessible Website Design & Development
Are you ready to launch a new website for your company or a microsite for your new product? Make sure you get started the right way by implementing accessibility best practices from the ground up. First, our expert artists will pitch accessible designs, ensuring contrast, fonts, and imagery are legible for your site users. Then, after you revise and approve your design, our development team gets to work on the build, implementing, and testing all accessibility compliance rules to ensure your website framework is up to required standards. These foundations are critical to making your accessibility strategy a success while minimizing costly refactoring issues.