Why You Need an Accessible Website
The purpose of your company’s website is to promote your services and products to the public. To do this, you need a site that everyone can use, including those with physical challenges. They are just as eager to surf the web for product information, and it’s every company’s job to make sure they can do so. In the past years, legislation has been passed to ensure every business builds a website that anyone can use. Here is a closer look at these regulations and how you can meet them.
What Legislation Requires Accessible Websites?
Americans With Disabilities Act
The American With Disabilities Act states that all public companies, including the government, must make their physical locations, tools, and telecommunications available for use by physically challenged people. This law has resulted in thousands of lawsuits filed against businesses of all sizes for not having a website that works for those who are disabled.
Rehabilitation Act Section 508
The Rehabilitation Act was created in 1973 and updated in 2017 with Section 508 requiring all U.S. Federal agencies to create accessible websites usable for those with physical handicaps, such as vision or hearing loss. It states all people have the right and the need to have access to technology.
Web Content Accessibility Guidelines
A group known as the World Wide Web Consortium gathered to create the Web Accessibility Initiative to publish guidelines for all businesses, governments and individuals to follow when creating their websites. These Web Content Accessibility Guidelines have become the industry standard for websites and are noted in most compliance laws or rules throughout the world.
How Do I Build a Compliant Website?
The WCAG gives you the information you need to create an accessible website or make changes to an existing one to bring it into compliance with regulations. Experienced web designers are familiar with the rules and have tools available to test sites and identify those pages that need upgrading. Here are several changes you can make on your site:
- Ensure all the website audio features and videos are captioned so they are understandable to those with hearing loss.
- Make sure the text is available in plain text format so screen readers used by those with vision loss can broadcast the information correctly.
- Provide enough color contrast on the pages so they are visible to those who are color blind.
Your company needs an accessible website so every person, regardless of physical limitations, is able to view and understand your site. Legislation and guidelines are in place to make sure this is done. Following the WCAG when building or upgrading your website will make sure your company complies with these rules.