WCAG & ADA Compliance With Accessibly
Accessibly was designed with the mission of complying with WCAG and ADA standards to the best of its ability. With these standards in mind, Accessibly had made great strides and reached high levels of compliance. Compliance of WCAG and ADA standards can be challenging to understand and address. We have dedicated this article to explaining the basics of WCAG and ADA compliance, and how Accessibly can assist you in addressing and solving web accessibility.
The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) were developed and distributed by The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). W3C is “an international community that develops open standards to ensure the long-term growth of the Web” according to their own website. WCAG is a guide for how to design websites that are accessible for users with disabilities or impairments.
The purpose of developing the WCAG standards is to have a single universal standard for web accessibility.
The WCAG standards are intended to be used by web developers and accessibility evaluators. WCAG standards are formatted as several documents detailing how to make online content accessible to users who have disabilities or impairments. Within these standards are several guidelines which are organized based upon four accessibility principles. These principles are intended to create the infrastructure for accessible web content for everyone.
Four Principles of Web Accessibility
The first principle of web accessibility is being Perceivable. This means content and information presented on the web must be perceivable to the users.
The next principle of web accessibility is being Operable. This means interactive and navigational components of web content must be operable for users.
The third principle of web accessibility is being Understandable. This is defined as users being able to understand the operation of a website, as well as understanding the information being presented on a website.
The final principle of web accessibility is being Robust. This refers to how robust the content of a given webpage is, and specifically if the content is robust enough to be interpreted across a diverse group of individuals.
The success criteria of the WCAG standards are testable criteria used when conformance testing is necessary. Because different groups, organizations, and individuals require different levels of conformance, three levels of conformance have been defined: A (lowest), AA, and AAA (highest). When levels of conformance are being evaluated, there are several different common factors taken into consideration. Some of these factors include:
- If the success criterion is essential
- The possibility of satisfying the criterion for all websites and types of content
- If the criterion intrudes the overall function of the website
Most providers of web accessibility assistance are unable to guarantee full levels of conformance based on the WCAG success criteria. The same is true for Accessibly, however we do follow the best guidelines and are partially conformant with WCAG 2.0 level AA.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law on July 26, 1990. The ADA is Civil Rights legislation intended to guarantee people with disabilities to have equal opportunities as everyone else. The ADA is comprehensive, complex, and designed to address several components of American life. Modeled after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the ADA had a vision of creating equal opportunity law for all individuals with disabilities.
In the context of web accessibility, the Americans with Disabilities Act addresses both State and local governments and businesses open to the public. These guidelines are defined under two separate provisions known as Title II and Title III.
Title II applies to State and local government entities, and protects qualified individuals with disabilities from discrimination on the basis of disability in services, programs, and activities provided by State and local government entities. Many State and local government entities now offer their citizens services, programs, and information on the web. For this reason, State and local government entities must ensure they are communicating as effectively to individuals with disabilities as they are to the rest of the population. In order to accomplish this, State and local government entities must provide sufficient web accessibility on their online platforms.
Many services provided by State and local government entities are now conducted online. Some common examples of this include applying for an absentee ballot, paying tickets,
filing police reports, and registering for government programs. If a State and local government website does not provide an accessible online environment it can create a major disadvantage for individuals with disabilities.
According to ADA.gov, Title III prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in the activities of places of public accommodations (businesses that are generally open to the public and that fall into one of 12 categories listed in the ADA). This includes common businesses such restaurants, movie theaters, schools, recreation centers, and many more. Title III requires businesses open to the public to provide the necessary aids and services to effectively communicate with individuals with disabilities. This includes services such as online assistive technologies.
Because many businesses open to the public now conduct many of their services online, it is necessary for these businesses to have an accessible environment. If the website of a business open to the public has inaccessible features, it can limit the ability of individuals with disabilities to access those public accommodations.
Sign Up With Accessibly for Compliance
Complying with WCAG and ADA standards is necessary for anyone running an online business. It may seem like a daunting task to provide your users with sufficient web accessibility. However, Accessibly is here to simplify the entire process. After signing up for a plan with Accessibly, you can immediately begin providing high quality web accessibility with our widget.
Accessibly believes in the importance of following both WCAG and ADA standards, and we are constantly improving our product to better conform with those standards. Accessibly follows the best guidelines and is partially conformant with WCAG 2.0 level AA. If you own an online business or are a business open to the public with an online platform, do not wait to address web accessibility any longer. Sign up with Accessibly today, and immediately see the benefits of providing an accessible online environment.