The globally recognized entertainer, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter is likely to be the first and most notable example of the web accessibility awakening. Beyoncé has been named in a class-action lawsuit for lack of ADA web accessibility on her website. Your first thought may be, ‘Beyoncé is a private citizen’, and therefore not required to abide by ADA regulations. Her web team probably thought that too. As your web team we’re here to break this down.
” What is Web Accessibility and why is it important to my business?”
In simple terms web accessibility is ensuring your web site’s information and application services are accessible to everyone. Particularly those with disabilities and those who are covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
WCAG 2.1, also know as Web Content Accessibility Guidelines , are a set of standards for web development. It is a series of guidelines for improving web accessibility for all people and is maintained by the Worldwide Web Consortium. These guidelines were created, and are modified, for web developers to use as a minimum benchmark or set of recommendations to create more accessible web content.
Statistics show that 15% to 19% of the world population has a disability.
While these guidelines, can’t possibly cover all disabilities, they are designed to provide accommodations for blindness/low vision, hearing loss/deafness, speech disabilities, limited movement, photosensitivity and a combination of these. Whether it is the law or not, providing web accessibility is ensuring access to all potential users. It’s a win/win. It is the right thing to do for consumers and your business.
WCAG 2.1 stems from 4 Principles
Perceivable – ensuring that information and user interface components and applications are presentable in a way that a user can perceive.
Operable – ensures that the interface and navigation are operable for all users
Understandable – dictates that both the user interface and the information being presented is able to be understood by the user.
Robust – The content meets recognized standards in such a way that it can consistently and reliably be interpreted by a wide variety of user agents and assistive technologies.
These 4 principles then get saturated to priority conformance levels A, AA or AAA. Based on the type of website you own will determine the best level of conformance for you. There is no magic formula, every site and solution is unique. Check back for WCAG2.1 pt. 2 for specific elements of the 4 principles and the levels.