Do you know if your website is accessible?
That doesn’t mean that your site is up and running and people can type in the URL and access your site. It means that anyone, regardless of abilities or disabilities can access your site and see the content on it.
It’s important to define accessibility because companies are being held liable for not having an accessible website. It’s also a legal responsibility, as you have to comply with the American with Disabilities Act.
This is an issue that’s being taken more seriously as over 2500 companies were taken to court in 2018 over having a website that wasn’t accessible.
Read on to find out how to define accessibility for your website’s design and how your site can get up to speed.
What Does it Mean to Have an Accessible Website?
You might assume that everyone looks at your website in the same way. It looks a certain way on a desktop device and a certain way on mobile devices.
That’s not true, though. Those with disabilities have issues seeing colors and images. They may access your site by using assistive technology.
In 1989, Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act. The key part of this law is that businesses have to have equal access to public places.
There’s no clear direction if that includes websites or not. At the federal level, the Justice Department hasn’t taken a stand either way to define accessibility for websites.
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
Since the law isn’t 100% clear around website accessibility, it’s best to turn to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). These are guidelines set forth by the European Union to ensure that all websites can be accessible to everyone.
WCAG includes guidance for developing a website so images, videos, and audio clips can be accessible. There are also guidelines for uploading documents and flashing content.
Three Ways to Make Your Site Accessible
How can you start to make your website design accessible to everyone? Here are three places to start.
1. Enhance Your Images
Almost every website depends on images to tell a story. Yet, someone who is using a device to access your site won’t know what image is. Instead, they’re relying on Alt-Text to tell them what the image is about.
2. Don’t Use Flashing Content
Did you know that flashing content on your site could cause some people to have seizures? Flashing content should be limited to less than three times per second.
3. Use Captions and Transcripts
People with hearing or vision issues would have a difficult time accessing audio and video clips on your site. You want to have captions on your video files and transcripts of your audio files.
How to Define Accessibility in the Web World
As a small business owner, you have a lot to think about. It’s easy to forget about your website and not realize that there is a part of the population that can’t fully access it.
When you define accessibility in the way that the WCAG guidelines do, you have a blueprint that makes your website accessible for all. It also makes sure that your site is fully compliant under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Are you ready to create a fully accessible website for your business? Contact us today to get started.