The Importance of Having a Fully-Accessible Website
It’s more important than ever before to have a strong online presence. Your website can act as the foundation for your business online and an anchor for other digital marketing initiatives. From your social media platforms to Google My Business profile and more, your online presence heavily relies on your website. In order for your website to fulfill its purpose and serve all users effectively and equally, it’s imperative that it is fully accessible to all.
In this article, we will take a closer look at what having a fully-accessible website means, why it’s important and what you can do to ensure it’s compliant with all guidelines.
What is a Fully-Accessible Website?
From allowing web users to learn about and contact your business, to utilizing your products and/or services and more, your website plays an important role in how your business operates online. To ensure that all web users can interact with your business online, it’s important that your website is fully accessible.
Approximately 20% of the population has a disability that may prevent or exclude them from using your website. By ensuring that your website is fully-accessible, you can help to fix this problem and ensure that everyone can browse and use your website.
A website that is fully accessible will be optimized for keyboard navigation, screen readers, online dictionaries for cognitive disorders compliance, and will be enabled for UI and design adjustments using an accessibility interface.
Why is it Important to Have a Fully-Accessible Website?
Your website should be accessible to everyone. Nobody should be excluded to learning about your business, purchasing your products, utilizing your services, or getting in touch with your business due to a disability. Having a fully-accessible website is important to create equal opportunities for everyone.
Your website should be accessible to everyone, including those with:
- Motor Impairment
- Cognitive Disorders
- Blurred Vision
- Colour Blindness
- Macular Degeneration
If your website is not fully accessible, not only do you risk those with a disability not being able to enjoy the full online experience, but you can also risk fines and lawsuits. In short, by creating and maintaining a fully-accessible website, you can ensure that everyone can browse with ease and reduce the risk of future litigation.
Mitigate the Risk of Legal Action
If your website does not comply with accessibility law based on your country, state or province, you may risk legal action. With more and more businesses and consumers going online, the need for accessible websites has grown as well. Since 2019 there has been a notable increase in web accessibility lawsuits in North America and throughout the rest of the world, with the estimation that these numbers will only continue to increase.
You can mitigate the risk of legal action by learning about accessibility laws that apply to your business based on where you reside, who you serve and the size of your business. The first step is getting familiarized with web accessibility law.
Governments from around the world have recognized that web accessibility should be incorporated into their current disability laws. Depending on a number of factors, you may have to comply with various disability laws, including but not limited to:
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines, also known as the WCAG, set the standard for web accessibility legislation in most countries worldwide. They are one of the most important sets of guidelines for web accessibility policy around the world.
ADA Title III
ADA stands for the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA was signed into law by President Bush in 1990 and is America’s most important accessibility and civil rights law for those with disabilities, including web accessibility.
U.S. Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act mandates all federal agencies to ensure that their digital properties are accessible to people with disabilities. This includes website content, emails, computer software, apps, and PDFs. In order to comply with Section 508, you must comply with the WCAG 2.1 at Level AA. You must also audit and document the changes in a document called “The Voluntary Product Accessibility Template”.
The European Accessibility Act (EAA) was passed by the European Union in April 2019. This act requires equal accessibility for digital products and services throughout the E.U. member states throughout Europe.
Produced by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), EN 301549 is a policy document that defiles the official standards for web accessibility.
The Israel Standard (IS) 5568 sets the standard for web accessibility in Israel. The IS 5568 came into effect in October 2017 with the aim of removing barriers for those with a disability. It affects many industries, including health, entertainment, education, leisure, social welfare, sports, recreation, tourism, transportation, and hospitality, among many others.
The ACA is a Canadian federal law that requires various industries to comply with accessibility guidelines and rules. The ACA came into effect on July 11, 2019.
The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, or AODA, was enacted in 2005 by provincial authorities. The goal of the AODA is to fix and improve standards for accessibility to services within the province of Ontario in Canada. AODA improved existing accessibility policies by providing clear rules and guidelines, deadlines, penalties and a series of enforcement systems. It also features an infrastructure that helps to keep accessibility policy up-to-date.
Which Laws and Regulations Apply to You?
The laws and regulations regarding web accessibility may vary by country, state or province, with some places not having any laws in place yet. Check with your local government website for specifics and more information.
What You Can Do
Our experts at IMP Digital Marketing can help you to ensure that your website is fully accessible. Our team utilizes innovative tools and technology to ensure that your website:
- Complies with legislation and reduce your risk of a lawsuit
- Is open to everyone and attract new potential customers
- Shows customers that you care and boosts your brand reputation
Ensure that your website is accessible and compliant with 24/7 scans, fixes and audits, not to mention accessibility statements and certification of performance. Scan your website today for free to see if it is fully accessible and where improvements can be made. If the results from the scan show that your website is not accessible, we can help.
IMP Digital Marketing
For more information, please reach out to our digital marketing experts or scan your website to see if it is ADA and WCAG compliant. We are here to assist and support you in all of your digital marketing initiatives. For more information, the latest news and digital marketing trends, explore our online learning and resource centre today.