4 Business Web Accessibility Practices For Mitigating Your Chance Of A Lawsuit

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4 Business Web Accessibility Practices For Mitigating Your Chance Of A Lawsuit

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The world of web accessibility was unheard of 10 years ago, but that’s far from the case in the modern day. Nowadays, thousands of lawsuits are filed every single year that directly pertain to web accessibility. In fact, over the last eight years, there has been an incredible 320% increase in the number of lawsuits filed that are connected to this particular part of the American Disabilities Act (ADA).

The vast majority of these lawsuits relate to inaccessible segments within websites, with a disability, whether it be visual, physical, hearing, or another type, preventing someone from interacting with a company’s website. Considering the vast amount of documentation that surrounds business web accessibility, pleading that your business simply didn’t know is simply not good enough anymore.

On the contrary, businesses have a duty to ensure that they provide an accessible website for their customers. Failure to do so has led to massive lawsuits time and time again, with companies like Nike, Blue Apron, Amazon, Dominoes, and even Beyoncé’s website being sued due to missing accessibility elements.

What Are the Web Accessibility Guidelines That My Business Should Follow?

If you’re writing, designing, or publishing content online, whether that be an HTML page or a full video game, then you need to familiarize yourself with the WCAG 2.0 (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) as soon as possible.

These guidelines provide a wide range of distinct recommendations that all attempt to make web content more accessible to people navigating online. The ADA covers a range of disabilities, meaning that your site should be accessible to absolutely anyone, no matter if they have photosensitivity, limited movement, low vision or blindness, another disability, or any combination of these.

The WCAG 2.0 guidelines are split into four main sections:

  • Perceivable - Text should be modifiable into different formats, with different presentation styles available.
  • Operable - Functionality should be available from the keyboard, and all content should provide methods of navigation.
  • Understandable - All text should be content readable, with pages being structured in an easy-to-follow way.
  • Robust - Ensure that your site allows assistive technologies to navigate its pages.

Within each one of these four main categories, there are a range of different recommendations. Quite simply, your business could move through these guidelines one by one and ensure that you are adhering to every single stage.

How can I check if my site is in line with the guidelines?

As suggested above, a business could directly resort to the guidelines, providing a direct comparison between the guideline documentation and their own website’s function and content. However, this is a fairly tedious process, especially considering the vast amount of documentation to move through.

A much faster way of getting a detailed breakdown of how accessible your site is would be to put your site’s URL into a web accessibility evaluation tool. Within this, you’ll be able to get a detailed breakdown of six core areas:

  • Errors - Direct errors that need to be fixed on the page to ensure you’re in line with accessibility guidance
  • Alters - any potential areas you should improve
  • Structural Elements - A document that demonstrates how your page is navigated
  • Contrast Errors - Design elements that need to be changed
  • Features - On-page features and their documentation
  • ARIA - Any HMTL errors that should be fixed.

Once you’ve gone through these areas, you’ll be able to get to work fixing each one of these mistakes. Over time, this is one of the best ways to constantly refine your pages and ensure that you are following the most recent WCAG documentation.

4 Best Practices For Business Accessibility

When constructing or refining your website, there are many balls to juggle when it comes to accessibility. As you’re building a site that should be accessible to absolutely anyone, you have a lot of different conditions to take into account.

With that considered, we’ve outlined five of the very best practices that will ensure you adhere to the vast majority of the web accessibility guidelines.

These practices are as follows:

  • Optimize Page Layout with Headings
  • Image Optimization
  • Be careful with Color
  • Utilize Filter Tools
  • Ensure You’re Always Supported

Let’s break these down further.

Optimize Page Layout with Headings

Part of the web accessibility guidelines that you should endeavor to follow is ensuring that your web pages are easy to move through. To do this, you should structure any page or blog post with a range of titles. At the top of your page, have a singular H1 title, with each subsection throughout the article then being an H2.

Giving this structure to your pages ensures that those with a mobility disability can navigate through your page with the tab key, moving from paragraph to paragraph, thanks to the neat and organized structure.

Image Optimization

Within any web page that you construct, you’re likely going to include a range of graphic elements to give further context to whatever you’re writing about. These images should be properly optimized, helping anyone with a visibility disability to understand what they’re showing.

This is done by titling the image correctly, as well as including an accurate and detailed ALT text. When a screen reader arrives at an image, it will read the ALT text out loud, allowing a visually impaired person to understand the image and continue on with the article.

Be Careful with Color

Contrasting colors are difficult to comprehend, especially when text is moving across or between them. Typically, any time that there are very contrasting colors on a page, it's best to change the color pallet to ensure things are more visible.

Not only will this ensure that anyone that has a visual impairment can continue using your page, but it will also be much more visually pleasing to anyone else that navigates to your site.

Utilize Filter Tools

One of the most effective web accessibility practices that your business should be following is using an access widget on your page. An access widget is a small icon that can be located in the corner of a website.

Within this small widget, you’ll be able to find a whole range of different functions that rapidly change the content and design of a website. For example, a seizure-prone person could click on this widget and then toggle on the seizure safe profile, which would then neutralize and pause any flashing images on the site.

Widgets like the one provided by accessiBe help cover the majority of accessibility points that businesses need to remember. This is one of the fastest and most expansive solutions to ensuring you’re following as many guidelines as possible.

Handling a Web Accessibility Lawsuit: accessiBe’s Litigation Support Package

No matter how prepared your business is and how long you spend moving through the web accessibility guidelines, you can never completely protect yourself from a lawsuit being launched at your site. While you can never prevent people from suing, as they can do for any reason, you can be as prepared as possible.

One of the most effective ways to ensure you’re completely supported if you do happen to be sued is by turning to accessiBe’s Litigation Support Package.

First and foremost, accessiBe clients will receive audits of their site monthly and receive an accessibility statement. accessiBe will then do a line-by-line assessment and create specific responses to every accessibility complaint. They will perform two, third-party audits, and you will receive ongoing support from their team.

Final Thoughts

Web accessibility is a vital topic that businesses need to start taking note of. Due to the increasing number of lawsuits filed within the world of web accessibility, businesses that aren’t paying attention now are being faced with a whole range of consequences.

By following these five best practices for business web accessibility, you’ll be able to ensure that your website is completely optimized and accessible to anyone that stumbles across your pages. Not only will an accessible website and documentation of all your accessible features help support you if you were ever in a lawsuit situation, but creating these features within your website also ensures that millions more users around the globe can navigate through your site.

Accessibility is a win for everyone.

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4 Business Web Accessibility Practices For Mitigating Your Chance Of A Lawsuit

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