Digital Accessibility Audits are Scary...Do They Need to Be?
Digital accessibility audits don’t have to be scary. The problem is the pandemic has created a surge of lawsuits before many brands could get educated on their accessibility responsibilities. How are you supposed to know what to do? That is the problem. Brands are getting bulldozed with demand letters before many of them even know what WCAG means. WCAG is the acronym for “Web Content Accessibility Guidelines” and it’s a big part of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Basically, WCAG is your website bible. These are development guidelines you must adhere to or risk legal action. Depending on the complexity of your website your adherence to these rules could be very costly. It all starts with a digital accessibility audit. Many want to skip this step, but simply put you can’t do that. It will end up costing you more in the end.
Where Do You Start?
Let’s begin with where NOT to start. Beware of the false promises you will find online claiming to fix your accessibility issues with a $ 50-a-month plugin. This could be a dangerous u-turn that could be costly in the end. The problem with this is that attorneys are using software to track down brands using these less-than-legal remedies. There are major settlements in place that cite many of these companies by name as not being an adequate fix for your accessibility. You might hear these tools called “layovers”. The accessibility community despises them and you can do a quick Google for “Accessibility Layover Lawsuits” and get an eye full of reasons to avoid them.
Some Pro Insight for Your Accessibility Journey
The best way to start learning best practices for accessibility on your website is to dig in. Watch the video above where Steve Barnes (President of Barnes Creative Studios) interviews Ryan Wieland of Allyant. Allyant is one of the top names in digital accessibility and some of the topics covered in the interview include:
- Accessibility is a “whole lot more than people think it is”.
- What to do when you get a demand letter for lack of accessibility.
- Denial is usually the first reaction to a need for accessibility.
- Breaking down your accessibility responsibility.
- What is the first step when evaluating a website for accessibility?
- Addressing third-party plugins.
- The big disconnect…how is accessibility simplified with a core user path for websites?
- Be careful with free online accessibility evaluators.
- Accessibility vs. Usability.
- The accessibility “hot potato”.
- The task of the developer fixes to your site to gain ADA-Compliance.
- The importance of making sure your developer has accessibility experience.
- With third-party embeds, it is paramount to ask for a VPAT from those vendors.
- The importance of a VPAT for any virtual tours you add to your website.