How Website Accessibility Affects Your Tech Brand’s Reputation and Success by@godwinolu

How Website Accessibility Affects Your Tech Brand’s Reputation and Success

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Website accessibility is the User Interface condition of a website that makes your website accessible to all users, including those with visual, auditory, cognitive, and motor disabilities. Winn-Dixie Stores could have avoided [the cost and embarrassment of court litigation] if they prioritized accessibility when building their eCommerce website. More than 90% of website home pages are legally non-compliant with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. There are about 12-13 guidelines for the WCAG requirements. The first step is to test your website with a WCAG validator, and the second step is the human audit.
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Godwin Oluponmile

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If your website isn't easily accessible by readers with disabilities, you aren't only losing revenue opportunities, but you’re at risk of legal problems.


Many retailers from England lost $15.5 billion in 2016 because disabled people couldn't access the products on their sites. Winn-Dixie Stores could have avoided the cost and embarrassment of court litigation if they prioritized accessibility when building their eCommerce website. Gil, a legally blind customer with cerebral palsy, couldn’t access Winn-Dixies’s services.


Most tech brands online neglect website accessibility compliance, which can be disastrous. More than 90% of website home pages are legally non-compliant with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.


Website accessibility is the User Interface condition of a website that makes your website accessible to all users, including those with visual, auditory, cognitive, and motor disabilities.


The World Health Organization reported nearly 1 billion persons with disabilities globally, with a combined spending power of almost $6 trillion. The Website Content Accessibility Guidelines are a part of the compilation of Website Accessibility Guidelines released by the Web Accessibility Initiative of the World Wide Web Consortium.


Today, you’ll find the requirements for website accessibility and the benefits of making it a priority. Before that, what are the current website accessibility standards?


Website Accessibility Standards

The International Web Standards Group W3C developed the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2 in collaboration with individuals and organizations worldwide. The aim is to provide a single shared standard for web content accessibility that meets the needs of individuals, organizations, and governments worldwide.


Also, the guidelines met the standards set by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).


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There are about 12-13 guidelines for the WCAG requirements. The policies contain four categories:


  • Perceivable
  • Operable
  • Understandable
  • Robust


In addition, there are testable success criteria for each of the guidelines. These criteria are sub-divided into three-level; A, AA, and AAA. Although not all sites must pass the most stringent requirement, a business should attain AA categorization and ADA compliance.


Website content must comply with the success criteria to meet the WCAG guidelines,

For a thorough breakdown of the standards, read the WCAG 2.1.


How to Ensure That A Website is ADA Complaint

The process of website accessibility is of two steps. The first process is to test your website with a WCAG validator, and the second step is the human website audit.


The Use of WCAG Validator

WCAG validators are automatic website compliance testing applications that generate instant reports after entering your URL. Accessibility Checker is well-known for providing reliable indications of how well your website is compliant. We have other tools, but most of them overlook accessibility flaws, and they're also known for reporting issues that don't exist.


Human Website Audit

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Conduct a 3-factor WCAG 2.1 A, AA audit. You don’t want to rely only on automated audits because automated tools detect less than 50% of the WCAG issues. Therefore, human testing is vital.


It would help if you had a certified accessibility compliance expert with a wide range of experience. To provide valuable and credible remediation advice, an accessibility consultant must be knowledgeable in the following areas. The objective is to acquire a comprehensive WCAG audit report detailing what and where WCAG issues exist and how to address them.


Effects of Not Adhering to the Website Accessibility Standards

Web accessibility can affect your brand adversely or positively. Here are some of the consequences of not following the website accessibility standards.


  1. Poor user experience

Based on the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements, a website must be tailor-made to the needs of a person with a disability. A disabled person should be able to operate and trust your website in the long term. However, failure to comply with this requirement results in poor user experience, increasing your website's bounce rate.

For instance, Web accessibility standards demand that websites are entirely usable and navigable using only the keyboard (i.e., without using a mouse). Of course, this is beneficial to individuals who have difficulty using a regular computer mouse.


  1. Legal Issues

The number of website accessibility cases has been growing in recent years.

According to a recent report, in 2021, more than 2800 web accessibility lawsuits were filed in the United States. This report is over 300 more than that of 2020.


Businesses that don't implement web accessibility standards, as stated in the Web Content Accessibility Standards, are liable to claims of discrimination and legal complaints. Also, the government hasn’t verified their website with the issuance of a Letter of Reasonable Accessibility declaring that their website is audited and is accommodable for people with disabilities. Major ADA complaints can be filed against websites regarded as "places of accommodation." Cases filed against government websites are tagged as Title II claims, while that of private websites are known as Title III claims.


Aside from the legal expenses, failure to comply with the ADA standards could put your website at the risk of public relation issue. Not just that, there could be a necessity to rebuild your website entirely.


Conclusion

Digital progress is rapid and shows no signs of slowing down. We cannot leave anyone behind as we develop new ways to communicate, conduct business, and receive services.


Website accessibility is advantageous only to people with disabilities is a myth. Everyone will get older with aging eyes, have a health problem, get a migraine, or be unable to see the screen.


With the increasing scope of web accessibility legislation that has become law worldwide, it is evident that accessibility should be an essential part of your overall web strategy.

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