In the developed countries of the world, in America and Europe, site accessibility testing for people with disabilities is critical. Statistics illustrate the importance of accessibility checks as 15% of the world’s inhabitants have a disabled status, which is more than a billion people.
Therefore, in most developing countries, some standards and organizations monitor the implementation of the requirements for ensuring the availability of information technology, WCAG compliant for people with disabilities. And the law provides for liability for non-compliance with these standards, especially for businesses:
- In the United States, this is section 508 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act, which instructs government organizations and agencies to create special digital applications to make their services convenient for people with disabilities. Your site must be 508 compliant.
- In Australia, this is the Disability Discrimination Act
- In Germany, this is the Federal Ordinance on Barrier-Free Information Technology, etc.
What does 508 compliant mean? In America, a precedent was set by the National Federation of the Blind against Target stores due to the inaccessibility of the company’s website for the blind. The company agreed to settle the lawsuit by streamlining their website and paying $6 million to the class action compensation fund and $3.7 million in attorney fees.
Leaving aside people with disabilities when developing an online store, a business loses most of its potential buyers and violates section 508 when it comes to the global market. But soon it will affect every country.
If you are developing and selling online, you should think about optimizing and adapting your site to the requirements and standards of accessibility testing. If you do so, the business will meet international standards and gain a competitive advantage and the ability to scale and develop.
What are WCAG compliant standards?
The W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) is an international organization founded in America in 1994 that develops accessibility check standards for websites and online services. In 1997, the W3C launched the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI), which formulates accessibility rules and conditions such as WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) 2.0, recognized by international standards.
The WCAG compliant accessibility guide is divided into four main categories that detail the site’s standards and requirements. People with disabilities can use the service on an equal basis with other users. By following these guidelines, you can remove barriers and expand your audience of users.
What is included in the concept of website accessibility according to WCAG standards? The goal of accessible design is to create a better experience for both healthy people and people with disabilities, so the site is comfortable for everyone. The business needs to provide all the necessary tools, considering the specifics and nuances of the interaction of people with disabilities with the site, such as the difference in cognitive abilities and the use of various devices.
- Cognitive process. With cognitive impairments, people perceive information differently. The task of designers and developers is to optimize the site for the needs of people with eye, hearing, and other functional or cognitive dysfunctions to navigate the site, understand and perceive information, etc. For this, it is worth conducting accessibility testing. The WCAG guidelines include requirements for cognitive accessibility such as adaptability, readability, navigation, and more.
- Mobile accessibility. This concept enhances the user experience for people with disabilities using a wide range of mobile devices (phones, tablets, smartwatches, etc.). The guide helps to solve several problems that may arise when using various gadgets, for example:
- Using touch screens of different sizes
- Various input methods (voice control, 3D touch with pressure sensors, etc.)
- Various conditions of use of devices (in the dark, bright light, etc.).
The perceptibility of information and user interface
It is essential to arrange the content so that users can perceive it with different senses of sight, hearing, touch. You need to do an accessibility check to make sure your service is up to standard.
Alternative to non-text content. Provide a text description for all images, videos, and other non-textual content; this is necessary so that auxiliary programs can transform pictures, diagrams, etc., into the necessary forms (braille, voice acting, special characters, etc.).
Depict, a service for adding descriptions to images on the internet helps change the browsing experience for blind and visually impaired people. Suppose the main function of non-text content is visual formatting or background. In that case, it should be implemented using empty alt text, CSS backgrounds, or some other way so that assistive technologies can ignore it.
Alternatives for multimedia. Conduct accessibility testing for all kinds of your content.
- Add a transcript of the relevant content for your audio files (podcasts, MP3 files, etc.).
- Provide a transcript or audio description of relevant content for videos not intended to be broadcast live and if the video is not decorative.
- Add synchronized subtitles for videos that contain audio (YouTube videos, audio broadcasts, webcasts, video conferencing, etc.).
- Please provide a transcript or audio description of the video.
- Suppose it is impossible to add an audio description to a video due to audio synchronization (for example, there are not enough pauses in the audio). In that case, you should make an alternative version of the video with pauses so that you can create an audio description.
Site content is easier to see and hear. Do not only use color to highlight visual elements, identify and convey information, but use additional methods.
- Make links stand out from surrounding text with color and make additional distinctions (for example, a link becomes underlined on hover).
- Provide the ability to adjust volume and mute audio, and pause playback as needed.
- Provide sufficient contrast to your content by using different color combinations, separating the background from the foreground, etc.
- Ensure that the line spacing does not change and information and data are not lost when the page is enlarged up to 400%.
- Consider a responsive website design; this is necessary for text, structure, and other content to be displayed correctly on all devices.
- 3: 1 is the minimum acceptable contrast ratio for distinguishing between graphic objects (such as icons and components of charts, graphs) and buttons, focus indicators, etc., customizable by the author of the interface components.
- What does it mean to be 508 compliant?
It means that sites must be accessible to people with disabilities.
- What is required for 508 compliance?
- What happens if my website is not ADA compliant?
You can potentially get legal action if a person with a disability is not comfortable using your resource. If you receive a claim, you will incur legal costs and potential property problems