We’re all used to ADA and accessibility standards in both the legal and ethical sense in the marketplace. Whether it is ensuring that there are access ramps to buildings or options for those with specific impairments or conditions to have equal access to services and venues. We expect this level of accommodation in our society.
Thankfully, in recent years that has started to be somewhat uniformly extended to the web.
Right now there is no law or department of justice standard for what that looks like on the web. However, the WCAG 2.0 Level AA standard is one that does a great job of providing an equitable experience to those with disabilities who wish to navigate websites.
This standard evaluates things such as ensuring elements on web pages are clickable, that the colors are in a range that is acceptable, and that alt text & other cues are in place for screen readers. It also evaluates common and sometimes less thought about aspects of code that work to allow pages to render for those who use software and tools to assist with navigating websites.
Despite the absence of a clear law or mandate, there has been legal action taken against companies in some sectors who do not have accessible websites. This has further emphasized the need for all website owners to assess their site’s current standing. By doing this, website owners ensure that they understand how to meet the best practice standards. This helps to clarify what the legal implications of not doing so could be for them.
Please note that at Voltage we’re marketers and not lawyers–that’s our disclaimer. However, we wanted to at least bring this topic to your attention as we have experience working with clients during both the initial build phase of new websites and with retrofitting existing websites to meet the WCAG 2.0 Level AA standard, as well as other common accessibility protocols. We can also help with getting an accessibility statement page on the website that notes the actions taken and standard tested to.
We strongly encourage you to not ignore this issue and to make a conscious decision to take the action that is right for your organization. While there is some gray area in the interpretation of the law and stories of suits filed in some industries and jurisdictions, we recommend that you pause and see what path forward is best for you.
We’re here to help if you’d like to know how your site currently stands and what it would take to bring it to the industry standards. We also encourage you to check with your legal counsel for their official advice on the matter.