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How To Make My Website Accessible?

Web accessibility is crucial for promoting inclusivity, ensuring that everyone, regardless of disability, can access and use websites and digital content. It is not only a legal requirement in many countries but also an ethical responsibility for businesses and organizations. Beyond the legal and ethical concerns, however, making websites accessible enables organizations to reach a broader audience, increase customer satisfaction, and improve brand reputation. Additionally, accessible websites benefit from improved search engine visibility and usability for all users.

In short, making your website accessible benefits everyone, contributing to a more inclusive and equitable online environment. Overall, web accessibility is essential for fostering inclusivity, respecting individuals living with disabilities, and promoting ethical business practices.

Okay, so how do I make my website accessible—you may ask?

There is no one-size-fits-all solution, so to speak, as different routes are possible to achieve this goal. But to achieve web accessibility in the fullest sense, certain steps are essential to this goal. Let us then break down the steps and possibilities for making a website accessible.

Understanding web accessibility guidelines

Understanding the standards for web accessibility and following the benchmark guidelines is the first step to making a website accessible for people with disabilities.

Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) set by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is the international benchmark for web accessibility standards and regulations. If you follow the WCAG guidelines when remediating your website, you will lift the golden trophy of accessibility.

The WCAG success criteria are organized into four principles: Perceivable, Operable, Understandable, and Robust (POUR). Each principle contains specific guidelines and testable success criteria for achieving accessibility.

Here is a brief overview of the WCAG success criteria:

  1. Perceivable: Information and user interface components must be presented in a way that can be perceived by all users, including those with disabilities. Perceivable success criteria include requirements for providing text alternatives for non-text content (e.g., alt text for images), ensuring content is adaptable and distinguishable, and providing alternatives for time-based media.
  2. Operable: User interface components and navigation must be operable by all users, including those with disabilities. Operable success criteria include requirements for keyboard accessibility, providing sufficient time for users to interact with content, avoiding content that could cause seizures, and ensuring navigation is predictable and consistent.
  3. Understandable: Information and user interface components must be understandable to all users, including those with disabilities. Understandable success criteria include requirements for clear and concise content, predictable website behavior, input assistance for users, and minimizing errors and providing helpful error messages.
  4. Robust: Content must be robust enough to be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies. Robust success criteria include requirements for using valid HTML, providing metadata and semantic structure, ensuring compatibility with assistive technologies, and avoiding deprecated features that may become obsolete.

Test your website against WCAG guidelines

This is an important step. Beginners typically dive right into the remediation process without necessarily testing their website against the WCAG standards, which is unfortunate, as the testing option helps outline a clear and specific remediation plan. If you know where your errors are and what the most urgent accessibility issues are on the website, your remediation task will be much easier, and quicker as well.

This is why we advise all our clients to begin their path toward accessibility with WCAG testing or a comprehensive audit. Conducting an evaluation audit or assessment of the website helps identify the areas of improvement and directs your focus to the issues that require immediate fixing. It also helps to know the existing gap of the website with compliance demands. As a first step, you want to take care of the most severe issues that impact the navigation and browsing experience of users with disabilities.

A web accessibility vendor familiar and experienced with WCAG testing like EqualWeb can combine an automated scanning process with manual testing carefully reviewed by accessibility experts. This approach can be cost-effective while greatly reducing the time dedicated to this task, as well as the prone to error with programmers and designers who are less familiar or knowledgeable with web accessibility.

AI-powered remediation

Making your website accessible can be a daunting task. With today’s modern AI-run automated tools, however, the process can be made much simpler and faster.

AI-powered remediation overlays can speed up the remediation process significantly, simply adding the tool to the website and bam, the website is immediately finetuned according to accessibility guidelines.

EqualWeb offers a unique AI-powered solution, which tackles many of the problems associated with automated accessibility enhancement tools. With the EqualWeb Auto AI Accessibility Widget, the entire remediation process is run on a layer of code that does not interfere with the original code of the website. Businesses and organizations love this solution as it doesn’t require any amendments to their hard-worked code—and takes their websites to the next level in ADA compliance and WCAG 2.2 conformance.

There are many features and extra perks that come with EqualWeb’s widget, so much so that we don’t have enough space to go over all of them here (but you can read all about it on the Auto AI Accessibility Widget plan page. What is important for our purposes is to understand that this widget solution remediates accessibility issues automatically, 24/7, and works seamlessly on the website. An outside line of code that introduces this AI-powered remediation interface is all that is required on the customer’s side, which is easy and fast—words that we all like to hear in this busy world of ours.

In-house remediation with accessibility experts

It’s important to understand that even with all of the benefits and advantages of automated remediation, it cannot elevate an entire website to conform with WCAG 2.2 accessibility guidelines. Several limitations come naturally with automated solutions. For example, some assistive technology tools are incompatible with automated widgets. As users with disabilities are used to navigating websites with their favorite assistive technologies, incompatibility may cause great discomfort and even a legal lawsuit.

Note that web accessibility is a journey, not a one-time job. So while many processes have become much easier and simpler, a holistic approach is still preferable to make a website accessible.

While we recommend adding automated accessibility tools to your website, we recommend even more complimenting these enhancing factors with web accessibility experts that will fix those issues that automated tools cannot. Experts not only test the website’s accessibility functions with assistive technologies but manually fix critical issues like keyboard navigation and errors that pop up on mobile apps.

The fully tailor-made managed solution

As we said in the beginning, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to web accessibility. For this reason, EqualWeb developed its smart “hybrid” solution that integrates all the enhancing elements for successful accessibility compliance.

Welcome the ADA Managed Compliance plan: a subscription plan that tailors a solution to the specific need of the organization, combining the AI-powered widget with manual remediation performed by certified accessibility experts, and periodic scanning for WCAG validation with the powerful Monitor tool to ensure high accessibility levels all year round.

Consult with an EqualWeb expert for website accessibility—no strings attached.

Accessibility statement and feedback

Regulations like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) require publishing an accessibility statement on the website to demonstrate the commitment to ensuring equal access to information for people with disabilities, as well as outlining the remediation work implemented on the website according to WCAG 2.2 Level AA standards. This statement is important because it displays all the modifications made on the website to achieve compliance.

An option to write feedback about the accessibility of the website is also a requirement. To ensure conformance, add a feedback outlet for users to let you know if there are any accessibility issues that damage their navigation and browsing experience.

How to make a website accessible: a summary

Creating an accessible website benefits a wider audience and improves overall user experience. To make your website accessible to people with disabilities, focus on clear and well-structured content with proper headings, alternative text descriptions for images, and captions/transcripts for multimedia. Ensure your website is navigable using just a keyboard and make forms user-friendly.

Furthermore, you must provide a logical navigation system, allow users to adjust text size, and consider using skip links, as well as implementing proper contrast colors. Minimize reliance on tables and use automated testing tools to identify accessibility issues.

Although each website has its own requirements, the following steps are broad principles that will effectively make your website accessible.

These four steps, implemented in the context of your website and its specific complexities, will go a long way to making your website accessible and compliant with regulatory demands.

Remember, accessibility is an ongoing process. But don’t let it overwhelm you. Make the first step by contacting an expert who can guide you through the process.

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