Accessibility is about making sure that everyone, regardless of their abilities or disabilities, can use and benefit from your website. One way to ensure that your website is accessible is to adopt the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.2 AA standard.
When creating a website for accessibility, there are a few aspects to consider. The WCAG 2.2 standard includes A, AA, AND AAA. In this article, we are aiming for the AA level of the accessibility standard.
Table Of Contents
- What is the WCAG 2.2 AA standard?
- Benefits of making your website accessible to people with disabilities
- Legal and ethical considerations of website accessibility
- Potential impact on your business or organization of not adhering to WCAG 2.2 AA
- Tips and best practices for implementing WCAG 2.2 AA in your website design
- Tools and resources that can help you ensure your website meets the WCAG 2.2 AA standard
- Case studies or examples of websites that have successfully adopted WCAG 2.2 AA
- Challenges and obstacles you may encounter in implementing WCAG 2.2 AA and how to overcome them
What is the WCAG 2.2 AA standard?
WCAG 2.2 AA is a set of guidelines and standards for making web content more accessible to people with disabilities, including those who are blind or have low vision, hearing loss, or mobility impairments. It consists of a set of guidelines that specify how to make web content more perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust. WCAG 2.2 AA also includes success criteria, which are specific requirements that a website must meet in order to be considered accessible.
Benefits of making your website accessible to people with disabilities
Making your website accessible benefits not only people with disabilities, but also your business or organization. By adopting WCAG 2.2 AA, you can:
- Increase the reach and potential audience of your website
- Improve the user experience for all visitors
- Enhance the credibility and professional image of your business or organization
- Comply with laws and regulations that mandate website accessibility, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in the United States
Legal and ethical considerations of website accessibility
In many countries, there are laws and regulations that require websites to be accessible to people with disabilities. For example, in the United States, the ADA requires that all public accommodations, including websites, be accessible to people with disabilities. Failing to comply with these laws can result in legal action and negative consequences for your business or organization.
In addition to the legal considerations, there are also ethical reasons to make your website accessible. By excluding people with disabilities from accessing your website, you are effectively denying them the same opportunities and information that are available to others.
There is also the economic aspects to consider. Disabled people have jobs and economic power today. Ignoring them with your website design, leaves potential revenue for your competitors to canabilize. Just like in a brick and mortar location, its not realistic to dominate your market if the disabled are excluded.
Potential impact on your business or organization of not adhering to WCAG 2.2 AA
Not adopting WCAG 2.2 AA can have negative consequences for your business or organization. In addition to the potential legal and ethical consequences, failing to make your website accessible can also:
- Decrease the reach and potential audience of your website
- Harm your reputation and credibility
- Reduce the overall user experience for all visitors
- Result in a loss of potential customers or clients
Tips and best practices for implementing WCAG 2.2 AA in your website design
There are many ways to make your website more accessible and compliant with WCAG 2.2 AA. Some tips and best practices that you should consider include:
- Ensuring that all text and images have alternative text (alt text) that accurately describes their content
- Providing captioning or transcripts for audio and video content
- Using descriptive link text that clearly indicates the target of the link
- Using sufficient contrast between text and background colors
- Making sure that all functionality can be operated using a keyboard
Tools and resources that can help you ensure your website meets the WCAG 2.2 AA standard
There are many tools and resources available to help you ensure that your website meets the WCAG 2.2 AA standard. Some options include:
- WCAG 2.2 AA checklist: This checklist from the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) provides a list of success criteria and guidelines to help you determine whether your website meets the WCAG 2.2 AA standard.
- Accessibility validation tools: These tools, such as the WAVE Web Accessibility Evaluation Tool, allow you to check your website for common accessibility issues.
- Accessibility testing services: Some companies offer accessibility testing services that can evaluate your website and provide recommendations for improvements.
- Accessibility training and resources: Organizations such as the WAI and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) Alliance offer training and resources to help you understand and implement accessibility best practices.
Case studies or examples of websites that have successfully adopted WCAG 2.2 AA
There are many examples of websites that have successfully adopted WCAG 2.2 AA. Some examples include:
- The City of Boston’s website: The city of Boston’s website is compliant with WCAG 2.2 AA and has received several awards for its accessibility efforts.
- The UK government’s website: The UK government’s website is compliant with WCAG 2.2 AA and includes a number of features to make it accessible to all users.
Challenges and obstacles you may encounter in implementing WCAG 2.2 AA and how to overcome them
Implementing WCAG 2.2 AA can be challenging, especially for large and complex websites. Some common obstacles that you may encounter include:
- Limited budget and resources: Implementing accessibility can require significant time and financial resources.
- Limited knowledge and expertise: Ensuring that your website meets the WCAG 2.2 AA standard can be complex and may require specialized knowledge and expertise.
- Legacy content and systems: Older content and systems may not be accessible, which can be a challenge to address.
To overcome these challenges, you may need to prioritize your efforts and focus on the most important aspects of accessibility first. You may also need to invest in training and resources to build your knowledge and expertise in this area. Finally, working with an accessibility specialist or consulting firm can be helpful in addressing these challenges.
Here is the reality, for most companies adhering to accessibility is a requirement. The question is, how much priority will you put on this requirement. Some wait until there is a legal issue; while others wait until their business grows a significant user base.
When you do make the decision to adopt accessibility online, apart from potential government regulations, WCAG 2.2 AA is probably the standard you should aim for. There are technical teams that specialize in website design accessibility and can provide an audit of your existing site. If you are just starting and wondering when is the best time to consider this, the answer is before the website is made.