Website accessibility has not always been at the forefront of web design; however, it has become more important than ever in recent years.
According to Statistics Canada’s 2017 Canadian Survey on Disability, 22% of Canadians (6.2 million people) over the age of 15 have at least one disability that limits everyday activities.
Web accessibility is ensuring your website and digital assets can be accessed by everyone, including people with visual, hearing, motor or cognitive impairments. People who have a disability CAN access the web, but only websites and mobile apps that have been designed with their capabilities in mind.
Access to information and communication technologies is defined as a basic human right. Web accessibility is crucial in regard to equal rights for those with disabilities.
Not only does digital accessibility support social inclusion for people with disabilities and those who struggle to use technology, but web accessibility is also beneficial for you as a business owner. Improving your website’s usability helps ensure you’re not excluding individuals who may benefit from your services. Accessible design often improves your overall user experience, contributes to effective SEO, can enhance your brand, and extend your target audience.
The best way to avoid these violations is to follow the WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines). The WCAG aims to provide a standard for web content accessibility that meets the needs of individuals, organizations, and governments on an international basis.
Complying with these acts and guidelines will lower the risk of legal action. All public sector organizations (including government, municipalities, and educational institutions) and all private organizations with 50 or more employees (including businesses, nonprofits, and private educational institutions) are required to be WCAG 2.0 AA accessible (excluding live captioning and audio descriptions) by January 1st, 2021.
View a full list of important filing and accessibility deadlines here.
In order to implement effective web accessibility, it’s important to consider POUR, an acronym for four key principles that describe effective web accessibility.
POUR stands for perceivable (how online content can be perceived), operable (how easily users can interact with your online content), understandable (how easily users can digest and understand your content), and robust (how your content can keep up with current and new technology).
In order to ensure you are optimizing your webpages for accessibility, POUR is an important framework to consider.
Online content should be available to the senses, including vision, touch, and hearing, either through the browser or through assistive technologies.
Examples of how you can make your website more perceivable:
Learn more on how to optimize your webpages for web accessibility.
Website visitors should be able to interact with your content with a variety of tools.
Examples of how you can make your website more operable:
While users with impaired vision may find using search easier than navigating through a large menu, users with cognitive impairments may prefer a table of contents or site map in order to find the information they’re looking for.
Users should be able to understand your content and enjoy a predictable experience.
Examples of how you can make your website more understandable:
It’s important to ensure your content works well with current and future technologies.
How to make your website robust:
It’s important to make these tags as descriptive as possible, so that both users and search engines are able to identify the content on your webpages.
The POUR principles are key aspects of user-friendly websites, and should be referenced in order to effectively implement web accessibility.
Interested in making your website more accessible? Let our experts at U7 Solutions help you get started!
Check out our web accessibility services