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What Are the 6 Types of Website Accessibility Audits?by@lera
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What Are the 6 Types of Website Accessibility Audits?

by March 2nd, 2022
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Accessibility is about making certain changes and optimizations to your website to be equally accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities. The worldwide web is for everyone, and hence building accessible digital websites is absolutely mandatory. As of 2020, 64% of organizations have made an enterprise-wide accessibility commitment. Find out more about accessibility audits and start your journey by preparing a website accessibility audit checklist. The next section of the article will cover more on web accessibility audit, their types, and why accessibility audit matters for businesses.
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If you are a new organization, and the concept of accessibility is not quite clear for you, let us help you out. Accessibility is about making certain changes and optimizations to your website to be equally accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities. 

The accessibility audit is a mix of manual and automated testing of your website to find out its accessibility score, the improvement areas and suggested actions. The worldwide web is for everyone, and hence building accessible digital websites is absolutely mandatory. 

As of 2020, 64% of organizations have made an enterprise-wide accessibility commitment, and it is a sharp increase of 59% from 2019. Find out more about accessibility audits and start your journey by preparing a website accessibility audit checklist. 

Table of Contents [hide]

  • 1. What is a web accessibility audit? 
  • 2. What are the types of accessibility audits? (2.1 Risk Audit, 2.2 In-depth Audit, 2.3 Validation Audit, 2.4 Design Audit, 2.5 Usability Audit, 2.6 Level of Effort (LOE) Audit)
  • 3. Why does web accessibility matter?
  • 4. Final Words 

What is a web accessibility audit? 

The accessibility audit is the process of performing manual and automated tests on your website to find out the improvement areas. To perform an accessibility audit, experts use an accessibility audit tool for automated testing. 

However, automated testing is not sufficient when it comes to accessibility testing. You need to perform thorough testing of each web page to determine the current accessibility status, violations of accessibility guidelines, and other details. To find out all these pointers, websites also require a comprehensive manual check. 

The next sections of the article will cover more on web accessibility audit, their types, and why accessibility audit matters for businesses. So, let’s get started. 

What are the 6 types of accessibility audits? 

There are multiple types of web accessibility audits that businesses can opt for. However, it ultimately depends on your operations and your accessibility goal. 

Suppose you are a new organization, and initially, compliance is your only focus. In that case, a risk audit works the best for you. Since this type of accessibility audit is more concerned about finding the compliance backlogs in your website. 

Similarly, if you want to find out the accessibility status of your UI and UX, you will require a design audit. 

Here is a list of different types of accessibility audits that businesses might select depending on their accessibility goals: 

1. Risk Audit 

Risk audit in accessibility testing is arguably the most intense type of audit. It determines all those critical roadblocks that people with disabilities may encounter when entering your website. However, a risk accessibility audit report doesn’t include the fixes and recommendations. 

2. In-depth Audit 

An in-depth or detailed accessibility audit is the most extensive type of testing. The purpose of this type of audit is to identify all the improvement areas on your website based on your preferred accessibility standards. 

The most common types of accessibility standards against which web accessibility audits are performed, include WCAG 2.0 – A/AA/AAA, WCAG 2.1 – A/AA and Section 508. This type of audit requires both automated and manual testing. 

At the end of an in-depth accessibility audit, you will be able to download a granular accessibility report, containing all the major accessibility issues and the recommended actions to fix those. 

3. Validation Audit 

The next type of accessibility audit on our list is validation audit. It is basically the extension of an accessibility audit that already took place. Suppose, your website has already undergone one round of website accessibility audits. 

Based on the audit outcomes, you have made some changes to your website. Now it is time to conduct the validation audit to verify these changes. You can conduct a validation audit on a single web page, a set of web pages, or a complete website. 

4. Design Audit 

You need to perform a design accessibility audit to ensure that your UX and UI wireframes are compliant with the accessibility guidelines. Since UI is a major part of any website, it is a crucial type of website accessibility audit that you should try out. 

5. Usability Audit

Another type of audit that businesses can perform is called usability audit. With quick usability testing, businesses can find out what all are usable for people with disabilities. Even though accessibility doesn’t always lead to usability, this type of audit can provide a direction to your website development process. 

6. Level of Effort (LOE) Audit 

The LOE accessibility audit report aims to estimate the overall effort involved. These might include the cost and magnitude of the accessibility testing, among other components. In an LOE accessibility report, you can find the number of tested webpages, issues involved in each page, the recommended actions to fix those issues and finally relative cost involved. 

Why does web accessibility matter? 

Wondering why you should sign up for a web accessibility audit? Well, that’s a fair question. Let us break down to you the reasons: 

There are legal risks involved 

The number one reason behind opting for an accessibility audit is to avoid any legal risks. Did you know that 2352 web accessibility lawsuits were filed against various US businesses in 2021? With the growth of online purchases post-pandemic, it is evident that more users will start relying on websites. 

As a result, users will have a bigger impact if your website is not accessible. This could easily result in a lawsuit against your company, with $400 or more legal fees. American legislation Americans with Disabilities Act, Rehabilitation Act, and Air Carriers Access Act, strictly oppose discrimination against people with disabilities. 

So, it is always a good idea to run an accessibility audit on your website and make necessary changes. 

Web accessibility boosts your website’s potential 

Apart from avoiding the legal risks, building an accessible website has many other benefits. An accessible website is something that everyone can use, irrespective of any disabilities. This can help you build the brand image of inclusiveness and grow your brand’s potential in the target market. 

If you perform an accessibility audit, you’ll gain the confidence that your website is creating a welcoming experience for the specially-abled people, and they won’t have a discriminating experience. 

Take the first step towards remediation 

Performing an accessibility audit is the first step toward remediation. If you don’t know what is wrong with your website and the backlogs in gaining accessibility, how do you take the actionable steps? 

An accessibility audit can take place in both manual and automated versions. You can check the accessibility report to gain detailed insights into the areas of improvement and how you take actionable steps to rectify those accessibility mistakes. 

Final Words 

Web accessibility audit helps organizations begin their journey to build an inclusive website. Now the type of accessibility audit or the benefits associated with each audit may vary from vendor to vendor. However, if the accessibility audit comes with actionable insights into your current accessibility status, it becomes simpler for you to take your website in the right direction.