Website Accessibility and Why Should I Care?

What is Website Accessibility?

In today’s digital world, websites are an integral part of most people’s lives. Websites provide us with entertainment, information, convenient shopping and more. However, have you ever thought about how accessible these websites are to people with disabilities? Website accessibility refers to the design and development of websites that can be used by everyone, regardless of their abilities or disabilities.

Why Should I Make My Website Accessible?

Here are 3 core reasons, in a nutshell:

  1. Open up your website to everybody, no matter their ability
  2. Mitigate their legal risk
  3. Separate your business from your competition by demonstrating how diversity, equity, and inclusion are valued.

What are the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines for Making My Website Accessible?

To determine whether a website is accessible, we use a checklist called the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.1, or WCAG, created by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). They have three levels: A, AA, and AAA. As of the moment, to be considered accessible, a website has to meet WCAG 2.1 AA.

What are Website Accessibility Laws?

It’s true that website accessibility is more than just an ethical issue: it’s also required by law and you risk fines if the justice department finds you guilty. In many countries including the United States, Canada, and the European Union, there are accessibility laws in place that mandate website accessibility. In short, increasingly attorneys have been threatening companies and organizations with lawsuits if their website is not “accessible”, with settlements ranging from $5,000 to $75,000 per instance if the company doesn’t “fix” their site. This has been ramping up year to year, as we move towards increasing understanding of the needs of people with disabilities and how to implement those features on existing websites.

And if you live in California, New York or Florida, you should know that “California’s 5,930 filings accounted for over half of the total nationwide and more than the other 49 states combined. New York was second with 2,774 lawsuits, and Florida was third with just over 1,050 cases.” (reference)

However one piece of good news related to litigation in California for online-only websites, (those who do not have a physical location for their business or organization), you may be off the hook with regard to litigation because in August of 2022, a California Court of Appeal ruling declared that websites of online-only businesses are not places of public accommodation within the meaning of the ADA or with regard to Unruh. (reference)

How Do I Make My Website Accessible?

Option A: Hire a developer who knows how to evaluate and fix your website. However that can be costly because the requirements are not always that easy to fix given the technical framework of the website, or the size of the website, or the problems you face.

Option B: Or you can do what I have done. I discovered in February of 2023 a new Artificial Intelligence based software solution that that will scan your website and automatically modify it to make it compliant, and keep it that way. I had seen similar solutions before but they only got to about 70% compliant and that still required a lot of work based on the results of the scan. With this website accessibility solution, it does it all for you.

This solution comes with a user-facing widget for some users to customize based on their need, however the real magic happens to the code, making it accessible to those who cannot use such a user-facing widget. You can see the user-facing widget live on my own website, look to the bottom right corner for a round blue icon and click it, (the icon, color and placement can be customized).

If you are interested, contact me and I can explain more about it.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top