Part 1: What is Web Accessibility and Why Does It Matter?
ADA Web Compliance has become a very hot topic in the digital world and it can seem very overwhelming. What is it? Where do I start? How do I know if my site is compliant? In this three-part series, we’ll demystify ADA compliance and explain the ins and outs of web accessibility to help you get started on the journey to ADA compliance. Let’s begin.
What Is Web Accessibility?
Web accessibility is an extension of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Title II, to the digital space – the notion that an organization is viewed beyond just the physical aspects of accommodation and therefore responsible for ensuring equal opportunity for persons with disabilities on the web.
Why Does It Matter?
- If you are an end-user, especially one with disabilities, you want to be able to experience the world wide web just as everyone else does. You want to be able to navigate a company’s site just as easily as you would their brick and mortar store. ADA-accessible sites provide end-users with a way to navigate and interact with a site using just their keyboards and/or a screen reader.
- If you are a corporation, it’s probably important to you to avoid potential lawsuits. Though it is not an official law yet, many companies are still being hit with costly suits for their websites not being ADA compliant against the WCAG 2.0 standards (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines as published by the Web Accessibility Initiative of the World Wide Web Consortium). Your website is seen as an extension of your organization, and thus should be just as accessible for your patrons.
Can You Truly Be ADA Compliant?
While there has been no official ruling by The Department of Justice as it pertains to web accessibility, the WCAG 2.0 guidelines are widely accepted. There are three different levels of compliance – A, AA, and AAA, and it’s a fine line as to what level you should strive to be, though most attempt Level AA. However, as stated in the name, these are guidelines and it’s still hard to find hard and fast regulations. So, set reasonable boundaries and assess your site as best as you can. Until the DOJ makes it official, it’s still subjective; however, tune back in to Part 2 and 3 of this series to learn how you can protect your organization and make your site compliant.
Ready to Begin?
Ready to begin the journey to become ADA compliant? Sagepath has plenty of experience in auditing and remediating sites for ADA compliance. Contact us to learn more about our consulting services. For more information on the WCAG 2.0 Standards, visit the W3 website.
In Part 2 of our 3-part ADA compliance guide you’ll learn about interpreting ADA compliance standards and guidelines for compliant site enhancements.