The Americans with Disabilities Act was enacted thirty years ago. In that time, websites and digital content have faced increasing scrutiny regarding what accessibility means and how well these digital platforms adhere to standards.
As technology evolves, we should be sharpening our focus on accessibility. Instead, many site owners are scrambling to understand the regulations and even scratch the surface of what they need to do to become accessible. Let’s change that.
Below are clear, actionable ideas for steps you can take to boost your website’s accessibility in just minutes. No matter where you are on the journey, there’s always something you can do to make your site more accessible for visitors!
1: Install an Automated Solution
Automated solutions can help you to handle accessibility concerns quickly and efficiently. They also tend to offer many helpful options that users can employ to tailor their website experience. These options include things like enlarging the font, changing color contrast, and more.
UserWay makes a robust automated solution called the AI-Powered Widget that remediates ADA violations on your website. It also includes a Content Moderator that will help you to determine if there is any potentially problematic content on your site.
You can work with your content team to incorporate the widget’s results into regular reviews ensuring you are always current. With the widget’s easy-to-use interface, updating content and reviewing suggestions is a breeze! If you have user-generated content, assign a designated person to check for critical issues on a daily basis.
They can address these before your regular review and make sure your site is always a welcoming place for all users.
2: Check Your Color Contrast
Pick a page from your website and grab the codes from the colors you used (these typically have a # followed by a series of numbers). Then you can put them into a contrast checker to see if you passed WCAG 2.1 AA or AAA requirements.
If your color contrast fails, then it needs to be changed in order to meet guidelines and, most importantly, be readable for your audience.
UserWay’s new “Smart Contrast” feature will also ensure all of your site colors are fully ADA compliant, giving you the power to ensure your site colors meet WCAG 2.1 AA or even AAA.
3: Get Your Community Involved
Accessibility is a team effort! By sharing that you are embarking on this journey, you will get site visitors to see how much you care about their experience. Encourage them to share ideas and proactively ask for them to contact you when they encounter barriers on your site.
Then, take those barriers seriously and figure out ways to remove them. You can add a link on your website or an area on your contact form where users can share issues they’ve noticed or concerns they have.
Another great way to get the community involved is to conduct user testing. Maybe your brand has a core group of dedicated followers or perhaps you send out an open call for testers from a wide range of backgrounds and with differing needs. Ask them to go through your site and give them a reporting form or rubric to gather issues. It’s also a good idea to offer an incentive to compensate the testers for their time and effort.
4: Generate an Accessibility Statement & Customize It
An accessibility statement shows your site visitors that you take accessibility seriously. In it, you share the current state of your website’s accessibility as well as any accessibility efforts your business is planning.
This will help your site visitors understand where you are on your accessibility roadmap and what barriers exist with alternative routes to access.
Review and revise your accessibility statement as you move forward on your compliance journey. It should always reflect the current state of your site’s accessibility and be a living document.
5: Enable Scanning and Monitoring
Scanning and Monitoring is a powerful solution that gives your development team deep insight into exactly where violations exist and how to resolve them. You will get a list of violations, screenshots of exactly where they occur, and information on what needs to be fixed.
Once you begin diving in and fixing these issues, you will notice patterns. Work with the team to create paths to prevent these issues from happening again. Perhaps that is changing how page templates are created or building new accessibility processes when content is published.
The more you learn about compliance, the better you will get at preventing violations in the first place.
6: Schedule a Yearly Audit
Once a year, schedule a review to ensure accessibility is becoming the standard across the organization. Track progress across years to check that your team is creating more accessible site content and really investigate issues that crop up.
The more seriously you take accessibility, the more user-friendly your website will be for visitors. Takedown barriers, take concerns seriously, employ customization tools, and develop action plans. Your visitors will thank you!
These are just a few ideas; let us know what other accessibility strategies you love in the comments below.