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What is Website Accessibility?

Inclusion is something that has been at the forefront of business and social conversations for years. Businesses have become accustomed to rules that have been initiated to establish an order of fairness; a common set of regulations to ensure equal participation in public accommodation in physical commercial environments. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was established decades ago to remove physical impediments to those who were unable to access commercial businesses and public transportation services.

Since it was enacted, much progress has been achieved in the effort to reach the goals of equal access. It is fair to say that few people or businesses have any questions as to physical or brick-and-mortar ADA compliance. It’s easy to see how barriers for the physically challenged, like stairs without wheel ramps, narrow doorways, undersized restrooms, and overly tall service counters, deny equal access to those with disabilities. However, the virtual world continues to struggle with understanding and complying with applicable accessibility guidelines.

With the significant migration of people to the virtual environment, accessibility issues are challenging businesses and web designers. Ensuring an accessible website experience is critical for those with certain disabilities and who are unable to interact with traditional digital technologies. Inclusion is important to any business that is looking to expand its consumer base and improve the brand’s reputation and value. Internet users who suffer disabilities like blindness, hearing loss, low vision, cognitive, learning, speech and physical disabilities often are denied equal access to information on many websites, apps, and social media platforms.

As consumers and users continue to access e-commerce and information from the internet, non-compliance issues become increasingly important to a significant portion of society and business. It is estimated that 61 million adults in the U.S. live with some form of disability that prevents them from utilizing many aspects of the internet. While there is currently no legislative initiative to ensure virtual space compliance (unless a business runs a government website), members of the Web Accessibility Initiative (WIP) of The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) are responsible for publishing the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). WCAG is a set of standards for online and mobile content developed by technology and accessibility experts to fully address the barriers experienced by people with disabilities when using the internet.

Accessibility involves following certain design principles that ensure people who experience difficulties or limitations have the same or a similar experience as those who do not. WCAG standards focus on whether a website is perceivable, operable, understandable, and robust for all users. By prioritizing a website’s level of accessibility, a business will enhance the user experience for all visitors, demonstrate a commitment to inclusivity, and boost brand loyalty and customer advocacy.

While compliance may appear daunting, automation technologies and professional web developers who practice recommended WCAG tactics can help ensure a website meets the WCAG standards. Junction Creative Solutions (Junction) can quickly implement its solution on any current website and provide certification of compliance without sacrificing creative design. Junction’s solution provides WCAG 2.1, ADA, Section 508, and EN 301549 compliance and ensures that clients’ websites stay certified and up to date. Call 678-686-1125 today for more details.